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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  March 31, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PDT

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colombian peace agreement. >> that's it for us. "morning joe" starts right now. we do not need a reckless president who believes she is above the law. lock her up. that's right. that's right, lock her up. i'm going to tell you, it's unbelievable. >> five people around her have been given immunity to include her former chief of staff. when you are given immunity, that means you've probably committed a crime. >> well then michael flynn is effectively admitted he committed a crime. >> wait, wait, wait. let's be fair. only in his own mind.
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>> in his words. >>. >> in america, you're innocent until proven guilty unless you follow the michael flynn standard. there you go. so i guess he's guilty. go ahead. >> the former national security adviser said he has a story to tell and very much wants to tell it. in exchange he wants to avoid prosecution in a federal investigation deepening by the day. the call came from inside the white house. new reporting this morning -- >> you know those horror films, the call, where is the call from? it's from inside the house! it's from inside the house! well, niin this case the call ce from inside the house.
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>> the white house. >> white house officials who provided the chairman of the house intel committee with documents that trump campaign staffers were swept up in foreign surveillance by american spy agencies. yeah, it is friday which means tomorrow is saturday. >> which means we'll be wondering why we aren't doing a show tomorrow. >> we might be. >> every saturday, we're like should we be doing a show today? >> with us veteran columnist and msnbc contributor mike barnicle, pulitzer prize winning columnist eugene robinson. former treasury official and "morning joe" economic analyst steve rattner. nbc news capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt and columnist and associated editor for "the washington post" david ignatius and "new york times" reporter michael schmitt. full house this morning. a lot of big news. former national security adviser
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michael flynn could be flipping on the president. the "wall street journal" was first to report that the retired army lieutenant general and trump campaign advisor is requesting immunity in exchange for his testimony. this while federal problems into alleged links between the president's associates and the russian government plays out. in a letter posted to twitter, flynn's lawyer confirmed discussions between his client and the congressional committees while citing unfounded u allegations, outrageous claims and vicious innuendo directed against him. he added that, quote, no reasonable person would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution. >> david ignatius, those of us around the table able to remember 1986 and 1987, iran contra. this story is taking off at warp speed. what are your insights this
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morning, david? >> first, joe, yesterday was a day you felt dizzy. every couple hours there was some new extraordinary development in this story. sometimes i think it's like listening to the watergate tapes live. you're just seeing it all happen in realtime. so i think the central development yesterday is that the beginning of the immunity negotiations for mike flynn. his lawyer says he has a story to tell. presumably he thinks some elements of that story might subject him to prosecution, so he wants to try to negotiate. what is it that mike flynn might say that would be important in this investigation? we can only speculate. but the central issue right now is he can talk about the conversations he had with donald trump about his contacts with russian ambassador sergei kislyak in the phone call that took place on december 29 at the
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same time that the obama administration was imposing sanctions. he can talk about what trump's instructions might have been, if any, how knowledgeable he was. so going to the heart of his conversations with the president is -- that's the door that seems to be opening with this offer of the negotiation. >> david, you're talking about the dizziness. we'll get the nunes in a second. the fact that you had young nsc staffers alerting the chairman of the intel committee, hey, come over, we've got some information we want do give you that you can then circulate out there. all this unfolding without the need of having deep throat in a garage somewhere in washington, d.c. >> he's on speed dial now. he's got an uber preset route.
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the nunes piece of this again is extraordinary. as we learn more, it's a piece of theater in which two white house nsc advisers, maybe a third according to "the washington post" this morning, conduct research to back up donald trump's argument that in some way he was improperly surveilled during the transition. they clearly had that material at the white house in early march. the strange thing is nunes became a transmission belt for putting that into play after the white house was being rebuffed. well, it's not wiretapping, it's incidental intercepts. the hous committee saying we're interested. we want to learn about this.
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he's going to go up to the white house and look at the same material. there are now going to be two narratives at least in the house investigation, one about russian covert action. the other, was there proper surveillance? that's established. in that sense trump has gotten what he wanted out of these last three weeks. >> we'll get back to nunes in a moment. first, the senate intelligence committee held its first hearing into russian meddling in the 2016 election. republican senator jim lankford had this exchange with former fbi special agent clint watts on why the russian attack on this election took hold. >> my question is first, why did he think he could get away with it this time? this is not new for the russians. they've done this for a long time across europe, but it was much more engaging this time in our election. why now? >> i think this answer is very simple and what no one is really
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saying in this room, part of the reasons active measures have worked in this election is because the commander-in-chief has used measures at time against his opponents. on 14 august, 2016, his campaign chairman after a debunked. >> when you say his? >> paul manafort cited the fake story as a terrorist attack on cnn and used it as a talking point. on 11 october president trump stood on the sage and cited what appears to be a fake news story from spud nick news that disappeared from the internet. he denies the intel from the united states about russia. he claims the russian could be rigged. that was the number one team pushed by spud nick news until the election. he's made claims of voter fraud, that president obama is not a citizen, that congressman cruz is not a citizen. part of the reason active measures works and it does today in terms of trump tower being
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wiretapped is because they parrot the same lines. putin is correct, he can say that he's not influencing anything because he's just putting out his stance. until we get a first basis on fact and physician in our own country, get some agreement about the facts, whether it be do i support the intelligence community or a story i read on my twitter feed, we're going have a big problem. i can tell you right now today, gray outlets that are soviet-pushing accounts tweet at president trump during high volumes when they know he's online and push conspiracy theories. if he is to click on one of those or cite one of those, it just proves putin correct. >> wow. clint watts will be our guest in about 20 minutes. >> okay. that's frightening. yesterday we were talking about republican senators starting to step into the gap here and say enough is enough. there's lankford from a very conservative state, basically
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setting this guy up to talk about how putin -- >> and encouraging him to go on. >> how trump is putin's dupe. >> joining the senate intelligence committee. that's the big difference. >> that changes the course of the investigation. that clearly is not the case in the house. >> very undisciplined, partisan, secretive, inappropriate and totally not credible. >> just wrong. >> backed up by sean spicer. >> atrocious performance nunes has put in, i don't see how that is a credible investigation. >> it's not. >> the nunes piece is going to get even more interesting and more baffling than it is now if you consider a couple of things. first of all, his crazy behavior. everybody las read about that. the sources as revealed by "the washington post," "new york times," "wall street journal," met three employees of the national security council in washington, d.c. they're not out in maryland
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gathering intercepts. what are they doing reading intercepts? they're staffers, young staffers that have been employed by the nsc for five weeks. >> and digging in. >> what are they doing, do they have any clearance to read those things? >> why don't we give you background on these three. one of them, of course, mcmasters tried to fire. trump wouldn't let him fire him which was extraordinary. he must have been in the middle of this fishing expedition. is it a legal fishing expedition? >> we don't know. >> i doubt it. >> here is the background. ezra cohen watnick came on board under michael flynn. politico reported earlier this month when h.r. mcmaster took over as national security add vietser he tried to oust cohen watnick and president trump intervened at the urging of jared kushner and steve bannon. meanwhile, "the washington post" has the story on a third official reporting ezra cohen
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took intelligence reports that mentioned trump campaign officials or suggested they were monitored inadvertently to the top of the national security council john eisenberg. nbc news has not independently confirmed "the new york times" or "washington post" reporting. >> david ignatius, they aren't in maryland. they're inside the white house. help -- for those of us who don't know exactly how this works, talk about how strange this is that you have had people working at the nsc rummaging through, trying to find evidence and then calling the house intel chair with information who -- first of all, he claimed, i have information i'm taking to the white house. he goes to the white house. they feed it to him. then he has this bogus meeting with the president which the president knew about all along i'm sure, and then he holds a press conference out front. >> it has the appearance of an
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effort to gather what would be politically useful material for the president's counterpunch against the investigation. obviously we don't know the details. it is true nsc staffers who have security clearances, and cohen watnick, because he was coming from the defense intelligence agency came to work for the nsc under mike flynn did have those clearances. they have authority to look at the most sensitive material that the intelligence community is producing in secure facilities. that's clearly what cohen watnick was doing for some weeks. others were drawn into that. there's a strange process in which they decide it's not getting out adequately, so they draw in nunes. adam schiff, his ranking member on the house intelligence committee expressed i think real anger in his comments about the
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process, the skull dugry as he puts it. >> we've never seen anything like this, bhous staffers go to the hill -- >> this is so obvious. i'm not saying, hey, we told you so. but i tweeted it the day he was going over to the white house. >> it's worth saying. >> saying he's going over to the white house. you know why? because chances are very good he got his, quote, information from a n paiced white house. he played pr rep for trump. that was written the day, kasie hunt, that he went over there. it's just not that hard which means there are a lot of people on the hill that understand, too, there's just not another word for this. >> a lot of people in the white house. >> just how stupid people are inside the white house that it has to be causing some panic among republicans on capitol hill now. >> joe, i think that's right.
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there's some question here what exactly was nunes aware of here? he made this kind of show of informing the president about what he had learned. we're learning now, of course, the national security council should have a direct line there. even the president's reaction was a little understated. i think every time nunes has gone in front of cameras, it's become more confusing. i stood in briefing after briefing with him where you'll ask essentially the same question a couple times in a row because his answers aren't necessarily clear, and you get three different answers. i was standing in a hallway yesterday, and i won't name the person who made this comment to me and used words i can't say on the air. this person said that guy can't catch a break. if that's true, it's all of his own making. it does contrast with what we're seeing on the senate cleanse committee. the other interesting thing that
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came out of that hearing was them saying essentially to marco rubio, actually you were a victim of meddling, too. marco rubio is the only republican who during the campaign stepped out and said, hey, republicans, this hacking, this could happen to you. don't dismiss it. he was literally all by himself. makes me wonder if he knew it was going on at the time. >> which is why i was always on marco's side, mike. i knew this day was coming. >> you tweeted it. >> watch this kid. >> you do have to agree on these issues he's been pretty -- his instincts have been honest. >> i'm making fun of myself. i'm not making fun of him. he's been right on this point and it is great to see -- let's put marco rubio in the hall of fame for republicans standing up for america first. you want to talk about america first, let's talk about america first.
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john mccain, lindsey graham, marco rubio, lankford yesterday. >> mitch mcconnell. >> susan collins was tough as hell yesterday, calling putin an ought cautocrat autocrat. >> richard burr. >> burr was unbelievable. mitch mcconnell, i said it three or four weeks ago, before the republicans found their fooding, i think they found it in part because mitch mcconnell started by basically saying we're not just not going to put up with this. i don't know who he thinks he is, but we're pretty smart around here. >> it's pretty obvious that you want to be on the side of correct when all is said and done. things are going really badly. if you're still in suck-up mode, you're very unself aware. this isn't about partisanship.
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>> republicans are standing up doing this less than 100 days in need to be called out positively. they're really doing a great job. they need to keep the pressure on because something is wrong. >> we'll find out the hard way for those who aren't. the white house central office sent a letter to intelligence committee leaders yesterday inviting them to review documents about whether intelligence was mishandled. that letter referenced comments made former obama administration and msnbc national security analyst evelyn farkas who said she didn't have any inside information. her comments were in response to a march 1st "new york times" report entitled obama administration rushed to preserve intelligence of russian election hacking. and before that on january 19th "the new york times" reported that intercepted russian communications are part of an inquiry into trump associates. that story made the front page
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on inauguration day with the headline "wiretapped data used in inquiry of trump aide." the paper reported american law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between russian officials and associates of president-elect donald j. trump, all helping to lead to the president's saturday morning tweets on march 4 that the administration has been trying to justify since. >> michael schmitt wrote the by lines. i remind he's the one that stayed on hillary clinton for over a year and a half, the least popular journalist in the clinton campaign. you were just as dogged there. michael, i want to talk about these two stories. you certainly can understand how trump supporters and people inside the trump white house believe, even if they disagree with trump's tweet, believe that
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the obama administration crossed the line. company these two stories and talk about surveillance against the trump administration, incoming trump administration by the then obama administration. what is fact? what is not fact? >> there's two types of communications that we're talking about here. there's stuff that the u.s. collected abroad of russians talking to each other and raised questions about their contact with the trump campaign. and then there's incidental collection, stuff like an american talking to a foreign leader. what's happened here is that the trump folks have tried to exploit that incidental collection and say, hey, look, this proves that the obama administration was spying on us. they've taken these two things and thrown them together and said, look, this is all illegal. we've seen no indication that there was any illegal collection
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whatsoever, but they continue to obsess about this issue and that's what happened with nunes. they said, look, there's been this incidental collection. here, take this stuff, take it out there and show. >> michael, at the same time, you did have -- your second story was a story that when i read it certainly raised eyebrows when you had the obama administration basically bragging about the fact that they got as much stuff as they could get. they declassified as much as they could get. they spread it across citol hill. they spread it to world leaders. they spread it across the intel agency. it sounded unusual at the time and it sounded improper at the time. i mean to me it did. i think to most it probably did. >> i understand the concerns about it. and i think what was happening at the end of the obama administration -- and we're not saying this is right. we're just telling you what happened. folks said, look, here comes the trump administration. we have all the information
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about the russian hacking. if we don't declassify it and don't push it up to capitol hill or out to our allies in europe, then what's going to happen is it's going to come in and it's all going to get lost. what we think happened was really awful. we think measures need to be put in place for this to be prevented in the future and we need to leave these bread crumbs for the senate investigators to find. that's why they pushed out the stuff that they did. they didn't -- what's happening at the end of the obama administration is they only have a few days left. more and more intelligence is coming in. they're more and more concerned about trump. more concerned about what's going to happen, and they start to sort of freak out and push this stuff out. that's what lead to our story which described how the information moved around in those days at the end of january. >> david ignatius, is that improper? does the trump administration have a reason to be concerned about what happened at the end of the obama administration? >> joe, as i said earlier, i
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think they have a narrative that they can offer about activity that was targeted against the incoming president. there are several elements, were names unmasked so people knew who these people were? were reports disseminated more widely than they deserve to be in attempt to put the information out. finally, were they deliberately leaked to the press to cause -- that series of things has been their argument really as michael says now for a couple months. but intensifying since president trump's tweet at the beginning of marseilling my wires were tapped. >> if those -- and all of us, assuming here, unless somebody wants to speak up, all of us assuming here that donald trump was lying about barack obama, quote, wiretapping his phones at trump tower. that said, following up on what
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you just said david ignatius, yes, it has been their defense. if people in the obama administration had improperly unmasked names, had improperly distributed this material, would that be against the law? would somebody that got caught doing that be in jeopardy of having charged brought against them? >> i can't give you a full answer to that. obviously as with any criminal issue, that would depend on intent, on the consequences. i think one can say in terms of the two strands of narrative, one has a lot more weight than the other. on the one hand we're talking about a russian attempt through covert action to manipulate the political process of the united states, and did anyone in the u.s. with the trump campaign in any way cooperate? that's what the fbi director says he's looking at.
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that's a serious question. the other may be -- >> that's the reason why this show has spent 98% of its time on this. right now this morning i'm just trying to dig in to what the trump people, their claims, and let's say that's only 5% of the story. it's still 5% of the story. do they have a point? >> it's coherent narrative. we need to listen to it. adam schiff has said i'm going to go look at the evidence and our committee is going to consider it in our oversight role and that's appropriate. >> what david is saying is we don't know enough to know on that second one. >> i think michael schmitt even though we have to go to break and alex is going to scream at me. i think michael schmitt digging in and checking on the unmasking may be far easier to track down than say what we're trying to track down in this sprawling
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russian investigation. >> but the incidental collection is not necessarily illegal. >> it's not illegal. exactly. >> it's not illegal and it can become a distraction. we've seen no indication that it's illegal. when this started devin nunes stood up and said i have an anonymous source that has provided me this information. as if he was a muck racker kind of journalist. >> it was obvious he would get it from the white house. >> what an ugly scenario. >> incidental collection is not illegal. >> not illegal. >> what would be illegal and what some people inside the intel community have told me, come on, you've got to focus o a little bit on this, is the improper unmasking of american citizens could be a real problem. >> and in flynn's case, that happened. that is true. that is true. >> there is no doubt, if flynn
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were not as loathed as flynn was loathed, and this happened to somebody else -- let's say it happened to colin powell, washington would be on fire right now and charges would be dropped. we have to look at that as reporters. the unmasking and leaking of this information also. >> remember the 95/5 ratio. >> i do. but here is my point, nobody is looking at the 5%. we're all looking at the 95%. we have to look at the whole story. we're not looking at the whole story. >> you just had the fbi director go up to capitol hill and say there's an ongoing investigation into this administration. he would not have done that if this was in the early stages and there was nothing there. this is something that's going to go on for a long period of time and soak up a lot of our energy. it's a hard thing not to pay attention to. >> i want everybody to remember this morning, as the checheetoss
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flying in grandmother's baemt, it's the 95-5 issue. these russians tried to influence our election, it's frightening. trying to destroy our democracy. that does not give us a free pass to ignore what happened in 5% of the story just because we don't like the principals who got caught up by improper activity from people, from people who, let's face it, most of the people in the media like and admire. >> that's what i'm saying. >> that's what the newspaper oms buds man should do. >> i don't dislike or like anyone i cover. >> michael splichmitt, say that
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again. >> we're trying to follow the facts and it's really hard. >> you are, michael, just a robot, i understand. michael is a great reporter. we showed you clint watts' explosive testimony yesterday in front of the senate. he joins us live in just a minute. knowing where you stand has never been easier. except when it comes to retirement.
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mr. president, i want to be clear about this, you and the russian government did never try to influence the outcome of the u.s. presidential election and there will be no evidence found? >> translator: ronald reagan once debating about taxes and addressing the americans said, watch my lips, he said no, watch
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my lips, no. >> follow the trail of dead russians. there's been more dead russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the world. they are dropping dead even in western countries. >> as vladimir putin denies any role in influencing the u.s. election, chilling testimony yesterday from former fbi agent clint watts. >> clint is going to join the table. you asked a very interesting question while we were at break, why would trump -- >> why would the staffers give it to nunes as opposed to walking down the hall and giving it to trump? >> because it was all a show. it was all a made-for-tv reality show. as badly produced as "the apprentice." just joking, donald. i don't want to really piss him off. >> but the thing is, these shows
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i think this answer is very simple and what no one is really saying in this room which is part of the reasons active measures have worked in this u.s. election is because the commander-in-chief has used russian measures against his opponents. president trump stood on the stage and cited what appears to be a fake news story from
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sputnik news that disappeared from the internet. he denies the intel from the united states about russia. he claimed the election could be rigged. that was the number one theme pushed by rt sputnik news outlets up until the election. the other part we should be looking at is follow the trail of dead russians. there's been more dead russians in the past three months tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the world. they are dropping dead even in western countries. these are huge openings to understand how they are funded by the russian government. i don't have the capability to do that from where i sit, but that's a huge angle. >> former fbi special agent clint watts testifying yesterday on capitol hill and he joins us now. thank you for being on the show this morning. >> thanks for having me. >> mr. watts, off of your testimony from yesterday, which was enlightening and frightening, we're in the early stages of the investigation as a
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country and as a business, news business, but at this point are you worried or concerned about the potential of collusion between elements of the trump campaign and russian intelligence services? >> yes. there's two ways to look at how russian active measures get propelled amongst the trump campaign. is it coordination and synchronization? at times we saw people on twitter say, i've talked too goose fer. the other part is opportunism. why would you look at russian propaganda to go against your american opponent? that's crazy, especially coming from a republican candidate looking back to the reagan era, this was the party tough on the soviet union, tough on russia, now we have a candidate siding with russia to go against a component. collusion is the worst place. >> david ignatius in d.c. has a
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question. david? >> i want to ask you what for me is one of the mysteries here which is why the obama administration didn't move more aggressively back last summer when information about what the russians were doing was beginning to be clear. why didn't they do more? could they have deterred some of this russian action if they had? >> i think the big miss on the obama administration that they didn't understand the hacking drives influence. we were obsessed with hacking. hacking, hacking, hacking and investigations. they didn't understand the purpose of the hacking was to influence the campaign and harm russian propaganda so they could influence the campaign. i think that's the first time they've ever seen it an there's a disjointed nature in our government between the fbi's investigation and what the implications would be from an intelligence standpoint. i think now they understand it. when it happened back july, august of last year, they didn't know how to react and,
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therefore, were slow and didn't do anything. >> steve rattner. >> to david's question, you think that gap lies at the fbi, that they're the ones who didn't really make that connection between the two and nobody at justice, nobody in the white house and nobody anywhere else who said, guys, there are broader implications than simply whether the russians are getting into our e-mail systems? >> no. i think it's one of the scenes when we don't have a government approach for the threat. we've been so focused on terrorism that nobody looked at why do we want to hack this information, we thought it was compromised information to steal bank account information. nobody was focused on why would they want this. i don't think it's the fbi's fault. but who covers down on russian influence? that's the intel agencies and is there that synchronization between law enforcement an intel. >> clint, let me ask you this question, and it's a gut question, gut answer.
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we had general hayden on laughing a couple weeks ago saying this is the greatest operations the russians have ever run, everything has fallen in place. i'm wondering, there are possible crimes to pursue and we have to pursue those crimes. but every day that we're on television, and for 24 hours a day, we're obsessed on how the russians have hacked, how the russians have tried to impact this, how the russians have tried to impact the white house. we're really just playing into their hands, aren't we? >> yes. >> and most of this for the russians is just dumb luck, that they have stumbled on to a presidential candidate, as you basically said yesterday, that was stupid enough to pick up their fake news. >> that's exactly the point of russian active measures. it's to sew confusion inside your enemy so they're fighting
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amongst themselves that you can maneuver on them. they've done it so well, that we're doing it three or four months later. >> it's not that they launched that complex of an operation against us, no more complex than what they do in other western countries. >> it's a system they use on their own populous, to sew information so their own populous is confused. it's very essential to do and we're doing their work for them. we're talking about it today, intel committee hearings, the president versus congress, versus the intel committee. iet es a home run for a year. >> for a country struggling to basically make ends meet. >> let's go to kasie hunt in washington. >> clint, watching your testimony yesterday, you cited very specific instances in the campaign where the now president had picked up on some of these active measures. i was wondering, do you see evidence, is he still doing it today. as kind of a, for my own kind of
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interest, what should those of us in the media be doing to try to recognize what's going on here from your perspective? >> i think the thing i would look for if i was in the media's shoes is just look at that twitter feed that has real donald trump on it. if you look at the accounts, the outlets, these very small fringe outlets pushing conspiracies directly at the president, i think you'll see where a lot of that influence comes from. it's not just the russians, others trying to influence it as well. they know they can get into his decision cycle with any conspiracy he'll bite on. if they put out conspiracy very personal to his ego, such as the trump tower wiretapping claim, you have the potential he'll fall for a conspiracy. we've seen it happen before. >> wow. >> the tentacles of this story are extraordinary, they're daily and sometimes hourly. the latest being three members of the nsc, national security staff, in the employment of the white house for maybe a month,
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go through incidental intelligence that they end up handing over to congressman devin nunes, incidental intelligence gathering? was their task easy or did they have to look through a lot of stuff to find what they found? >> i think it's bizarre if anything. incidental collection happens in any sort of electronic surveillance. i've worked on wiretaps before. when you go through, you minimize that so people that are aren't aren't discovered. if you hear looking for a political point which is i need to prove a point i've made already and i don't know if it's true, you can pull in all sorts of data. what we don't know is the context of this. if you're doing a good intel committee hearing which i think the senate is and the house is less so, you'll have intelligence professionals that have looked at all this come to you and say this is what we're really focused on in the investigation and the intel analysis and this is what's gotten merit to it, an incidental collection that doesn't have merit is going to be pushed away. we did the reverse of that.
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we dug for a nugget of gold to justify a tweet somewhere and instead bypassed a good bipartisan non-influential process. >> all this chaos -- we have to underline this fact. all this chaos, including the trashing of our greatest allies, to justify a tweet that everyone still says is a lie. >> clint watts, thank you very much. >> thank you. jim himes of the intel committee joins us live -- >> wait, wait. what did they call watergate? third rate burglar? >> this is like a fourth rate tweet. will it take down the president? >> such a huge ego. >> at 25% now in the gallup poll, most of that from the tweet. >> he needs help. >> we'll be back. we all need help.
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for the congressional committees to grant immunity, they would have to coordinate closely with the justice department. after all, it would be immunity from criminal prosecution. for the justice department to agree to give somebody like him immunity, it means they want him to turn and testify against someone higher up in the food chain. who is higher up in the food chain higher than the national security adviser? there's really only one person. and so this shows that the jeopardy of criminal liability actually extends all the way to the top. that's how serious this development is tonight. >> that was former cia chief of staff jeremy bash yesterday, talking about michael flynn's request for immunity in exchange for testimony. just ahead, we'll look into how deep the investigation goes. plus, we go live to the white house for new reporting on the house intel chairman's bungled investigation into
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russia and the call that was apparently coming from inside the white house. >> mika, you know when something is -- a story is going to defcom one, right? >> yeah. >> you bring in walter. >> walter is here. >> and isaacson is coming in. he knows in any great horror film, alex, that the most horrifying news is when the call that's haunting you is coming from inside the house. >> "morning joe." >> leave me alone. >> jill, this is is sergeant stacker. we've traced the call. it's coming from inside the house. a squad car is onity way over. just get out of that house. o. with the united mileageplus explorer card, you'll get a free checked bag, 2 united club passes... priority boarding... and 50,000 bonus miles. everything you need
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♪ time to think of your future it's your retirement. know where you stand. i would also inform the committee 10:45 am yesterday a second attempt was made again against former members of my presidential campaign team who had access to our internal information, again targeted from an ip address from an unknown location in russia. and that effort was also unsuccessful. >> unbelievable, huh? marco rubio. >> it is friday. >> isn't it amazing, walter? >> march 31st. >> we talked about this throughout last summer. >> yeah. >> and said this russian thing is bigger than people think. and you get all these trolls coming at you. and you get all these stories. now you realize what it was. >> yeah. >> it was an organized activity. >> it was an organized activity
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and, i mean, this was -- you were around. we were talking to david ignatius before. you were around during iran-contra, even watergate. this thing easily, easily has taken on the scope of iran-cont iran-contra, easily. as bill crystal said last night, it's moving at warp speed. david ignatius was talking about it earlier, walter. this is moving so quickly that every day it's hard to keep up with everything that's going on. and we don't even need deep throat anymore because they're too stupid. they do it all in the light of day. >> the phone call comes from within the white house. you say it's like iran-contra. i was at "time" magazine. i still have trouble figuring out the complexity of iran-contra. >> exactly. >> this has a bigger impact because it was easier to understand. the russians hacked our election. they were trying to get into rubio, trying to get into everything. and so we know what this was about. >> and also the russians, mika,
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hacked our election to the applause of the republican candidate and the encouragement of the republican candidate and the applause and the encouragement of people who work for him directly and who had been his political advisers for years. directly. trump saying, you need to hack into this and that. >> find the hillary clinton e-mails. russia, if you have the e-mails. >> and trump himself -- >> wikileaks. i love wikileaks. >> caller: a victim of fake news. he doesn't know the difference. that's kind of sad. >> david ignatius. >> an idiot. >> walter says it's he easier to understand than iran-contra. i suspect it is. this is moving at such a rapid clip. >> it's moving so fast. every day there are now two or three new developments here.
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if the russian goal was to destabilize the u.s. political scene, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. we're preoccupied with this. that's just one point i would make. there are a lot of things around the world that could blow up into crises, real crises, quickly. north korea is the most obvious. there are others. you do have to hope that there is in our national security system, in congress and the executive branch enough resources to deal with other things. sometimes you feel like this is a black hole that's just pulling all the energy, all the political energy, certainly in washington and the country. and there are other things going on in the world that we have to keep -- it sounds like the civics professor offering his thoughts. this is a scary period with other stuff happening. >> it is a scary period. what's so fascinating, though, gene, is that the branch of government that the russian
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activities destabilized the most is the executive branch. >> i know. >> because the courts -- check. >> they're good. >> courts are doing fine. >> legislative branch. >> all good. well -- >> check. >> not quite all good. >> no, no, no, on the senate side -- >> it functions. >> on the senate side. >> by the way, that's why our founders had a house and a senate. the senate, who has six years between elections, check. >> just fine. thank you. >> they're doing their job. the press. >> press good. >> oh, yeah. >> several fake news but most people know the difference. >> the press is doing better now. >> but you have to read the press. >> the press, mika. >> mr. president. sorry. it's just unbelievable he believes fake news, our president. >> the press is actually doing better now financially before it
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was when donald trump started calling things fake news. the best time notice decade for people in the media. it really is. for the washington post, "new york times," our network, cnn, for fox. >> sad thing. >> boost in viewership boost and everything. >> so the systems have worked. >> because of important stuff going on and people realize that. >> but it has destabilized, though, the white house. >> white house is a mess. >> it's a very bad thing to have the executive branch destabilized in this way. >> yes. >> and to have it, you know -- i think i called it the court of the borgias inside the executive branch as they point fingers at each other and try to take each other down. former national security adviser michael flynn could be flipping on the president. wall street journal was first to report that the retired army lieutenant general is requesting immunity in exchange for his testimony. this, while federal probes into
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alleged links between the president's associates and the russian government plays out. in a letter posted to twitter, flynn's lawyer confirmed discussions between his client and the congressional committees while citing unfounded allegations, outrageous claims of treason and vicious innuendo directed against him. he added, quote, no reasonable person would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution. let's bring in the chief white house correspondent for "the new york times," peter baker, with more on this. peter? >> good morning. how are you today? >> good. what are you hearing? >> this is obviously such an extraordinary thing. this man was national security adviser to the president of the united states. and, obviously, he has been in the cross hairs right now of the -- both the investigating committees on the hill and the fbi. he is trying to cut a deal. as you played the clip from jeremy bash, the deal usually goes if you're trying to flip on
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somebody higher. in this case, though, he's looking for a way to tell his story without worrying about being prosecuted for his words. and that's what often trips up people. you talk about iran-contra, these other cases. people got tripped up because of things they said publicly that were not true or were contradicted by other facts. the cover-up is often worse than the original crime. and this is a situation where you've got a very high former official, very high former adviser to the president of the united states seeking to protect himself against criminal prosecution. it's extraordinary. >> mike? >> so, peter, first of all, congratulations. you made the trip back from tel aviv to cover washington for the times. you had to be in tel aviv for six seconds. sometimes the unintended consequences end up being more important than the intended consequences. white house attitude concern
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level of involvement in the following. as all this is playing out on the front pages of our newspapers -- and we'll find out the extent of the story as time goes on -- europe has been fairly successfully destabilized by the russians, multiple elections going on in europe and as that is going on, we have, in the washington post today, front page story, riveting story. the state department is a nonfactor around the globe. new secretary of state a nonfactor with many foreign leaders. internally, in the white house, what is your perception of their ability to figure out that this is really part of the critical components of what's happening? >> they look at it as an attack on them. if you talk about how people closest to the president and the president himself view this, they're looking at this as a political attack on them. they're trying to fight back and figure out how to do it. that's why you had this unusual episode with chairman nunes. they're trying to find ways at
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getting back at what they perceive to be a democratic-inspired attempt to delegitimize president trump. he is very sensitive, as we've seen, to anything that his election to president was anything but legitimate. he talks about it in terms of i still won and hillary is looking for excuses. at this point this isn't about hillary clinton or whether the election itself was conducted correctly. it's about what the russians were trying to do and what the contacts might have been between people on his team and some of these rather extraordinary figures from moscow. to them, it's a political battle right now. they feel besieged. they feel under attack and are very, very frustrated. >> peter, this is gene robinson. this is not your first rodeo here. covering this white house to what you've seen previously and i guess my follow-up question is, the sense of personal
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persecution that they seem to have, does that all flow from the president himself? >> yeah. mike mentioned kindly that i had just gotten back from a very short stint in israel. part of the reason was having covered previous white houses, some people thought that might be a useful thing. having covered previous white houses is not at all helpful to covering this one. have you expectations that are totally inappropriate. everything you as a reporter covering the white house thought you knew does not apply. >> yeah. >> presidents don't do this or they do do this. this is the way the white houseworks. throw it out. the playbook doesn't work. success over time is being unconventional, something that seems different. but it's gotten him in a lot of hot water early on. his polls, obviously, are very low. >> they're 35 now? >> yeah. >> yeah. >> around 35, gallup and a
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bunker kind of mentality very early. i can't remember any white house being in a bunker, defensive crouch so early on in their presidency. as david ignatius and others have put it, they have accelerating such an extraordinary pace and we have not had a genuine crisis that has not yet been of their own creation. >> president trump just tweeted the following. mike flynn should ask for immunity in that this a witch hunt. excuse for a big election loss by media and dems of historic proportion. >> mike flynn was the guy who said if you ask for immunity -- >> you're guilty. >> you commit aid crime. >> which is not true but he was the -- >> it gets to what peter said, though. the election is over. he won. he's president of the united states. get over it. move on. >> even in that tweet, he can't help lying. >> he can't help himself. >> of historic proportions. no, it's not historic. it's unbelievable. ap just crossed, by the way, with a poll that has donald
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trump at 42%, disapproval at what, alex? >> 58. >> 58%. so disapproval whether you're looking at the gallup polls that have him at 35 approval. the disapprovals are in the 50s now, new territory. >> that's historic. he make history that way. >> that is historic. >> epic. >> not just a question of the polls. this is a pretty serious issue, the whole question. yeah, he won the election. >> we got it. >> we can all say that. >> i mean, we think he did. >> but we don't want the russians to be able to do this to our elections. and the notion of the -- you compare it to watergate. at least we had sam irvin and howard baker, pretty stable people. this guy, devin nunes, i've never seen anything like that. >> what do you mean? >> i mean, sort of secretly going into the white house and
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then saying he had this type of source. he was a whistleblower who was -- no. can you imagine howard baker doing this? either party? >> i will say, though, you look at, again, a lot of the republican senators who have really stepped up. >> the senate is great, partly because they're not inju jury-mandered. you've written and spoken about that. at least we don't have that in the senate. you look at senator burr. mark warner. they're going to conduct a grown-up investigation. >> senator corker has been great, too. >> always. it's unbelievable. mika, even in the house -- steve bannon. again, this guy has to be smart. bannon has to have some level of intelligence, on some level. but inside the white house, the
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ways of washington -- i'll say the word again. he's the dumbest guy i've ever seen in my life in washington, d.c. holding that powerful of a position. he and the president, who is a close second, have now gone after the conservative caucus in the house of representatives, the people that most lavishly followed him. >> do you think that might be -- i would love peter baker's view on this. this may be an interesting pivot in which he says okay on health care, i'm actually going to try to do it in a bipartisan way. he could change his presidency and be an independent populist. and i think that's what -- >> except in his tweet, peter, yesterday he attacked both the freedom caucus and we must go to war against the freedom caucus and against the democrats. >> remember, he said we don't fight enough wars. >> that's what you call narrow casting. he's below 218 votes when you go to war with your conservatives and democrats. >> you can certainly imagine a
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scenario where he does reach out to democrats on some scenarios and try to play across lines. i don't think that's what this is yet. what we saw yesterday at this point is an attempt to intimidate wayward members of the flock into getting back on track. and i don't think it's working. what you saw yesterday was a rather strike iing pushback by e of these same freedom caucus members. they tweeted out in very trumpian terms in response to him. tom garret of virginia tweeted out stockholm syndrome, meaning he has become captured by the republican establishment. a swamp not a hot tub. we both came here to drain it. and swamp care, his term for the health care bill that went down only polls at 17%. it's a direct function of the poll numbers we're talking about, perceived weakness because of the russian situation. >> if you are a congressman in a conservative district and you're
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getting 65, 70, 75%, you really don't care. if a president attacks you, your district trusts you. you've held 150 town hall meetings. they know you personally. it's very easy to say to them -- we said it about newt while we were running him out of town. yeah, i like newt. he's just not a conservative. >> most predictable reaction, freedom caucus reaction. >> we'll get to him in a moment. this all began yesterday when trump tweeted the freedom caucus will hurt the entire republican agenda if they don't get on the team and fast. we must fight them, and dems, in 2018. if mark meadows, jim jordan and labrador would get on board we would have both great health care and massive cuts in tax reforms. then he tweeted an article from ken buckhead lines "governing means supporting the ahca."
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the washington post sources a white house official who says they're sick and tired of seeing freedom caucus members on tv and that, quote, this has been brewing for a while. adding, our view is -- >> they've only been in the white house for 50 days, 60 days. it's been brewing for a while? you could impeach bill clinton on a tuesday and he would go golfing with you on a wednesday because he knew a vote was coming up on friday. >> yeah. >> that is what you need in a leader. >> our view is there's nothing as clarifying as the smell of air force one jet fuel. so if he needs to bring in the plane and do a rally, he's going to think about doing that. >> this is the bush league. >> "new york times" reports the president wasn't acting purely on impulse. the paper reports, quote, stephen bannon, mr. trump's
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chief strategist has counseled a tough tone with the rebels, instructing his staff to use twitter as a rhetorical prod to keep the party in line. and, get this, joe -- >> hold on a second. i am steve bannon. i ran a website. i have only been in politics since august 2016. ye shall bow down before me. >> remember the country club folk? dan scavino, an aide who controls mr. trump's official white house twitter account -- that guy does -- recently moved into mr. bannon's west wing office, where he closely monitors social activity by and about the president. dan scavino. >> i like dan scavino. stop repeating his name. you got to look at steve bannon. >> actually, no, i think you have to look at them all. >> mark meadows, where is he from? >> north carolina.
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>> western north carolina. >> what was his majority? >> i don't know. what was it? >> 70%. >> that's the thing. i remember -- and i know people hate me actually talking about when i was in congress. >> you were in congress? >> i could talk about when i wrote a musical if you prefer that. >> there's a good one you're working on. >> my work in congress is more relevant. newt gingrich, one of his people, came up and threatened me just like this. "time" person of the year, most powerful person in washington at the time. i said i got 62% with you guys not helping me. you threaten me i'm going to put out a fund-raising letter, raise a lot of money, call you a liberal in my district and get 75%. which is what happened. they attack these people they only make them stronger. this is obi wan kanobe. >> speaker ryan's reaction to it was disturbing and the notion that speaker ryan would say if we don't stop this, he's going
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to work with the democrats. the speaker of the house is a constitutional office. >> yeah. >> it is not just a party leadership office. and if you're now going to say as speaker it's a bad thing to try to work with the other party to fix health care that, to me, was so surprisingly bad on -- >> there are other ways to say it. if we don't draw this bill up, the democrats are going to. and that's what corker was talking about. yeah. i mean, i think maybe he misspoke. joining us from cincinnati, ohio -- by the way, i like dan scavino. i like my mom. i would not have her monitoring the president's twitter account. >> i would actually have dan scavino monitoring the president's twitter account. >> i wouldn't. thomas massie who tweeted to donald trump it's a swamp, not a hot tub. we both came here to drain it. #swamp care polls 17%.
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sad. >> thomas massie, are you scared? are you shaking in your boots because steve bannon says that the jet fuel of air force one is going to come to your district and be clarifying to both you and the teaming masses below air force one? >> are you shaking in your shoes? >> how scared are you? >> are you all right? >> you know what, he can bring air force one, marine one and amtrak one. it's not going to change what i'm going to do. my constituents sent me here -- they sent me to d.c., frankly, to drain the swamp. we were excited. conservatives were excited when we heard donald trump was coming to help us drain the swamp. but now he is taking advice from the swamp creatures. >> yep. >> now you talk about this bill. only a 17% approval rating for this bill. you're back in your district. are people coming up to you, weeping in the street saying, why didn't you support the 17%
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solution? like are you catching grief for not supporting this bill? >> no. it has a 9% approval rating in my district. so, you know, maybe one in 11 suort this bill. and it's only because donald trump is supporting it. but he's burning political capital with every tweet that attacks the guys that came to washington, d.c. to drain the swamp. we have a brand -- >> donald trump has said that he is going to war against and you the freedom caucus in 2018. what's your response? >> yeah. well, look, you know, i added up the numbers. if he goes to war against conservative republicans and democrats, he'll never get to 218 in the house. like you've got to do the math. you've got to get to 218. and there are at least 40 or 60 conservatives in the house. if you've got 180 democrats, that's 240. you've lost.
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you're going to have to work with somebody. >> you're not a member of the freedom caucus but, obviously, he is lumping everybody that opposed him together there. >> yeah. >> do you see steve bannon's attack against republican members as ultimately backfiring? >> i think donald trump, to the extent he's taken advice from the establishment and attacking the anti-establishment in washington, d.c., i think that's bad advice. i don't know who is giving him that advice or if he's just doing this on his own. but, look, look at the freedom caucus and other conservatives like me. we raise about a tenth as much money in washington, d.c. as the people who are giving donald trump advice from the house right now. we've been there about a third as long as the people in washington, d.c. that he's listening to. so we talk about the establishment and who knows what the establishment is. but when they're taking all the
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pac money and they've been there forever, maybe those aren't the people he intended to work with when he got to washington, d.c., but we can't figure out why he doesn't want to drain the swamp. >> congressman, it's walter isaacson. i have a simple question. do you actually think that donald trump is a deeply conservative person? >> you know, i don't get caught up in that. in fact, on my way here, i was just thinking my objection to this bill is logical, not ideological. if you think about it, if you remove the individual mandate but keep the mandate for pre-existing conditions, healthy people are going to quit buying insurances and the prices are going to spiral upward even more so than under obamacare. whether you're ideological or logical, you should be against this bill. that's why most of my constituents are. >> thank you, congressman. >> congressman massie. >> peter baker -- >> thank you as well. >> i want to ask him --
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>> we have to go to break. >> i know we do. >> this isn't a leading question but -- >> kind of. >> -- anybody as short sighted as this president attacking members of his base, members of the freedom caucus 55, 60 days in? >> we don't see a strategy that gets him to 218, what congressman massie was saying. if you're going to peel off parts of your caucus you have to move to the center or left to get others. he hasn't done that either. where is this leading to? i think they think they can simply push people into, you know, being back on script. that's obviously not the case. you just saw it a minute ago with congressman massie. and, you know, he doesn't have -- the smell of jet fuel is one thing. he hasn't used any of the other tools of the office to entice. >> lack of discipline where he -- after he loses, he has a very gracious statement in some respects. he praises the freedom caucus.
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>> for about 20 minutes. >> it was a matter move. >> and then steve bannon is there, barking like a dog saying chew him on the leg, attack him on twitter. and he listens to bannon and he's responsible for all the stupid things he does. but there's nothing more stupid politically than when you're trying to pass legislation than when you're attacking the base of your party. >> the rest of the house intel committee get to review the documents that its chairman first saw last week? we'll get a live report from the white house. plus, two down, six more to go. we'll tell you which democrats are breaking ranks to support the president's supreme court nominee. "morning joe" is back in a moment. >> i don't work for the president. i don't work for the leadership.
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i work for the people who sent me here. >> the fact is that you have to look at the legislation. it doesn't do what we told the voters we're going to do. that's why only 17% of the population supports this legislation. >> i don't know who is giving him that counsel, but if it's the same counsel that said let's put a bill that's polling at 17% on the house floor when the american people are 17% approval, that's not a winner. >> this is a swamp, not a hot tub. just because it's hot doesn't mean it's a hot tub. people sent us here, conservatives, republicans that believed in what they campaigned on and donald trump. they sent us here to drain the swamp. >> is this a negotiating tactic by the president? do you think it's a constructive way to do it? >> i mean, it's constructive in fifth grade but -- it may allow a child to get his way but that's not how our government works.
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joining us from the white house, peter alexander. peter, how is the white house responding to "the new york times" story about nunes? >> reporter: mika, this was striking. we were in the briefing room and i was sitting up front when sean spicer came in the room, this story broke moments before he came out. in effect, he struggled to respond to these. a week ago, he was asked similar questions about this topic and asked specifically if devin nunes got the information from the white house, why would he have gone away and come back the next day to talk about it? he said that didn't, in his words, pass the smell test. he was a lot less forthcoming about this specifically, he will not reveal who the source is. still the white house will not say who let devon nunes on to
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the grounds here at the white house. he did point specifically to a letter. the timing that critics say they're curious about, that invites bipartisan leaders of the intelligence committees to review information that was initially only given to devon nunes. not clear that's the same information. that's what critics suggest. here is what spicer said in the briefing room. >> i read the report and, respectfully, i think that your question assumes that the reporting is correct. >> it does. >> i would suggest to you that the letter that was submitted earlier to the ranking -- chairman of the ranking members of the two committees, two intelligence committees on the hill, the reason that the white house has asked them to come up is to view that information. again, i don't want to get in front of that. as i said before. i don't -- we are not as obsessed with the process as much as the substance. zblsk, this is a complaint that sean spicer has had over the course of the last several days,
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even more than a week at this point right now, suggesting that this is all about the process and not about the substance. it's a question i've been asking him about over the course of the last several days as well, which is the bottom line is there is due process here. don't you recognize that this would appear to sort of interrupt that if the white house had played a role, sort of cooperating. >> right. >> or choreographing this. a top white house official tells us it must have been a national security council member who would have provided this information in effect to devon nunes. they would be the only individuals who access to the computers, to log into the computers in the secure room in the white house. >> that's one way to deduce. i'm wondering -- you mentioned it before the sound bite about who actually had nunes come on to the white house grounds, who invited him. who called him. who let him in. isn't that information accessible immediately by any member of congress? why don't we have the answer to
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that? >> reporter: good -- i don't know that it's available to any member of congress for sure. i do know it's available to any member here at the white house specifically. there are rare exceptions under national security situations the names could be removed or potentially purged here. but former national security council advisers, even the former spokesperson with whom i spoke, tells me it would be very easy information to access if sean spicer wanted to provide that for better transparency. it doesn't indicate who the source is. >> i think you can find out publicly. >> they haven't put the records out yet. so we can't. we're trying. >> and spicer obviously knows or is choosing not to know, which is even more disturbing. >> if you were vice president of the united states and i was coming to visit you, you would have to tell the appropriate people that i was coming to visit you. >> that is correct. >> as far as this information being available it's called a visitor log. you sign in. that's what it's called. public information. >> they won't release -- >> they won't release it.
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>> they will not release the visit log. >> they're not telling the truth. peter, what am i missing? >> reporter: mika, sean spicer, you heard there, and over the course of the days, has been critical about the reporters, media use of anonymous sources. recognize that it's anonymous sources that we even knew that devon nunes was spotted on the white house grounds to provide any transparency that he ultimately got whatever intelligence he had before he made his stunning assertion last week. >> someone might want to tell the president, walter, that some of those sources are extremely close to him, that he can't trust them. >> they're on a jihad against leaks and anonymous sources. >> they're right there with him. >> anonymous sources are in the white house. they work for him. >> next to the president. >> reporter: i don't have much of an explanation for that. >> peter? >> reporter: this is the challenge. sean spicer would say that the rules, in effect, are different. you reporters are use iing
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anonymous sources and asking us to respond to them and you're not allowing us to use anonymous sources specifically when we ask him where dev. n nunes got this information. >> and it's on the record. >> we traced the call. it's coming from inside the house! >> but the president's closest aides continue to call us on the telephone to talk to us. nbc's peter alexander, thank you very much. we appreciate it. still ahead, a very sobering number for you. 5 million. that's the number of syrian refugees living abroad, as the civil war rages on. now, what could be a major departure on how the u.s. sees the future of syria's president bashir alassad. that's next. with e*trade's powerful trading tools, right at your fingertips,
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together with russia and iran, the assad regime has destroyed each and every hospital in east aleppo. every one. a quarter million people are left to suffer. these are war crimes. i'm not going to go back into should assad be in and out. been there, done that, right in terms of what the u.s. has done. i will tell you that he is a big hinderance in trying to move
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forward. >> u.n. ambassador nikki haley wednesday, accusing the assad regime of war crimes. she told reuters, quote, you pick and choose your battles. our focus is no longer on getting assad out. rex tillerson made similar comments from turkey. >> the status and longer term status of president assad will be decided by the syrian people. >> in a statement senator john mccain said he was deeply disturbed by those remarks adding secretary tillerson's comments, quote, overlooks the tragic reality that the syrian people cannot decide the fate of assad or the future of their country when they are being slaughtered. and a policy of trying to fight isis while pretending that we can ignore the syrian civil war, that was its genesis and fuels it to this day, is a recipe for
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more war, more terror, more refugees and more instability. senator lindsey graham echoed mccain's statement adding, quote, leaving him in power is also a great reward for russia and iran. i fear it is a grave mistake. >> david ignatius, the policy put forward by nichkki haley ha been the de facto policy for the past six, seven, eight years, isn't it? >> that's true. not a departure. >> deciding, unraveling our policy is not so easy. it's gone in different directions. the u.s. has had a title 50 cia program of supporting rebels who wanted to overthrow assad, even as we waffled on the public side of it. as near as i can tell, the policy that they're moving toward, tillerson and haley now announce it, is very similar as that of russia.
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we know from the campaign comments of donald trump, that's what he wanted in syria. he wanted the u.s. and russia to basically ally, standing down on assad. it means, worryingly, accepting iran's very much enhanced role in syria for the indefinite future and basically accepting that the country is going to be areas where we have allies in the southeast, in the area around liberated raqqa. that's where syria is heading. >> what are the alternatives? what would be the alternatives to assad? obama said assad must go, like he said mubarak must go, like gadhafi must go. assad crossed a red line and he did nothing. so, just realistically, what would america's options be, other than saying we're going to fight isis and leave assad where
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he is? >> our options in syria today are bad and worse. the challenge to assad for real on the ground is jihadist fighters from the al qaeda group. principally also some elements of isis. there have been rebel attacks on damascus that have been threatening the assad regime. i think the u.s. knows it doesn't have a good alternative to provide a stable, nonassad government in damascus now and that explains the policy. the question is whether there's a real diplomatic idea for the future that pulls syria back together and prevents it from becoming isis 2.0, isis 3.0. every 5-4 supreme court decision that follows a neil gorsuch confirmation
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illegitimate. senator jeff merkley joins us on set. hey allergy muddlers
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two democratic senators, joe manchin of west virginia and hidy heitkamp have now come out in support of neil gorsuch. still that leaves republicans well short of 60 votes needed to avoid a nuclear option. 32 are against and support a filibuster while two more are undecided but support a ph filibuster. five democrats remain undecided. claire mccaskill is still undecided and is offering a warning to her party. according to reports, mccaskill, up for re-election in a state donald trump won in double digits told donors that blocking gorsuch could have dire consequences for democrats, including the possibility that
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someone democrats deem worse could be appointed to the high court in the future. joining us now, democratic senator jeff merkley of oregon. what do you think of claire mccaskill's concerns? >> two people confront each other. one pulls out a sword and says i've got the power and the other pulls out a machine gun and says too bad. the person with the sword says i'll lay it down and i won't pick it up until next time i come back. well, next time you come back, the other team still has a machine gun. the argument doesn't make any sense. this is the open seat that determines a 5-4 majority on the court. >> right. >> it's a majority we're very familiar with and what it has done. >> but gorsuch is replacing scalia. the person that replaces kennedy, if kennedy is next or ginsburg, if ginsburg is next, will be far more significant than this. >> not at all. it only makes a 5-4 decision -- >> i understand. about you you're replacing
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scalia. you and i both know this to be the case. i don't know why you would fight the obvious. >> there is no tradition that we're going to put into the court exactly the of someone who is left. this is the power of the president, who is there when the seat becomes empty. the seat became empty under obama the senate has always acted except this time. >> you're talking about garland. >> yeah. >> payback? >> this payback for garland? >> no, this corrupts the integrity of the court. the senate had fail dodd its constitutional responsibility on advice and consent in order to pack the court with the future conservative justice, puts a shadow over every future decision. >> i agree. so do two wrongs make a right here? >> it's not a wrong. >> we all came out here and said what republicans did against garland was outrageous. >> to fight for the integrity of
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the court is the right side of this battle, not to accede to the argument that it's okay to pack the court. that's why we're fighting. this is completely unacceptable. >> how long do you fight this? you look back at briar, getting on the court with an 87-9 vote. ginsburg, 96-3. will we ever get back to those days? >> we put a clear option before the president. he can put up merrick garland, he can be debated, voted on, and we're back on track in terms of the responsibility of the senate, you no longer have a stolen seat. maybe he gets approved or opposed, but at least the senate would have done its job. you don't have this big cones t constitutional problem hanging over the court. for every future vacancy that there is, they'll say that seat was stolen, let's steal the seat
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back. >> my sense of the wol tipoliti this is that there's no appetite in the democratic base for for saying, oh well, go ahead and vote for him. i think the base wants a fight. i'm sure that's what you're hearing from constituents. play this out a bit. what happens -- one assumes if republicans wanted to confirm him, they'll confirm him. they may have to get rid of the filibuster to do it, but they'll confirm him. what happens on the next seat? after the next resignation, do we have another fight? >> if they're willing to change the rule on this nomination, thooir wi they're willing to change the rules on the next nomination. the reason we left in place a super majority on the court is because the integrity of the court depends on having someone from the mainstream, not nominated from the far extremes. we have a nominee from the far
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extreme on the right. this is exactly what the super majority is intending to do. >> you think people in claire mccaskill's state and joe manchin's state think that neil gorsuch played by jimmy steward during his confirmation hearing is on the extreme right? >> when they hear the story of how they completely twisted the law in regards to the frozen trucker, when they hear the story on how he said a law intended to make sure people with disabilities get an education, but he said it doesn't matter if they get an education, as long as they're in the classroom it's okay. the supreme court said 8-0 are you kidding me? that's crazy. that's what they said about gorsuch's interpretation of the law. when people hear these stories about how he twisted the law time and time again to find on behalf of powerful corporations
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against ordinary people, they go, wow, this is not somebody who cares about workers, this is not we the people democracy, this is another justice for the power of the people and the conservatives. >> we never had an ideological test on how senators would vote on nominees. aren't we going down a treacherous road? >> we can agree that garland -- >> we can agree he should have decisi been considered. >> it's a choice up to republicans. they do it at great risk. they realize this president may get nominee -- >> didn't the democrats get rid of the super majority on other nominees? >> wasn't the supreme court. >> i know. >> realize that came after the president said we're going to steal three circuit court seats.
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>> but we're all going down the road, it's spinning down the road. how do you stop it right now? by restoring the process. nominate merrick garland -- >> he won't nominate merrick garland. >> that's certainly a choice of the president. if the republicans wanted to destroy the supreme court, they're on track do it. >> all right. senator jeff merkley, thank you for coming on board. still ahead -- >> good luck with the ducks. >> right. i was going to bring you hats this morning, so we scoured new york and found out all the hats for the ducks are sold out. that's a good sign. >> next time hats for us. still ahead, new reporting on the botched house intel ve intelligence investigation into russia. democrats smell blood after they find out those inside the white house help the chairman help the white house. i know. i know. we'll talk to democrat jim himes
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calling for devin nunes to recuse himself. plus more of the president's national security adviser, michael flynn,ing ca asking for immunity saying he has a story to tell. we'll be back in a moment. nobody's hurt, but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do? drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had liberty mutual new car replacement™, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels. smart. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, we'll replace the full value of your car. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. hi, i'm frank. i take movantik for oic, opioid-induced constipation.
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president who believes she is above the law. lock her up. that's right. yes, that's right. lock her up. i'm going to tell you what, it's unbelievable. >> five people around her have been given immunity to include her former chief of staff. when you are given immunity, that means you've probably committed a crime. >> well, then michael flib ynn effectivelyhe's committed a crime. >> only in his own mind. only by his own standard. >> story speaks for itself. >> in america, it's important we
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say this from the beginning, you're innocent until proven guilty. >> right. >> unless you follow the michael flynn standard. there you go. >> there you go. >> i guess he's guilty. glad we cleared that up. >> he says he has a story to tell and very much wants to tell it. that's his quote. in exchange he wants to avoid prosecution in a federal investigation that is deepening by the day. and the call came from inside the white house, new reporting this morning -- >> you know thoseror the films. you know, where is the call from? the call! it's from inside the house! it's from inside the house! well, in this case the call came from inside the house. >> the white house. >> the white house, that is, my friends. >> white house officials who provide td chairman of the whit
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house intel committee with documents. yeah, it's friday. tomorrow is saturday. >> which means we'll be wondering why we're not doing a show tomorrow. >> we might be. >> we do. every saturday we're like, should we be doing a show today? >> with us veteran columnist, mike barnicle, associate editor of the "washington post," eugene robinson, "morning joe" economic analyst, steve ratner, nbc news capitol hill correspondent, katie, full house this morning. a lot of big news. michael flynn could be flipping on the president. the "wall street journal" was first to report that the trump campaign adviser is requesting
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immunity in exchange for his testimony. this while federal probes into alleged links of the president's associates and the russian government plays out. in a letter posted to twitter, flynn's lawyer confirmed discussions between his client and the congressional committees while citing unfounded allegations outrageous claims of treason and vicious innuendo against him. he said no reasonable person would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized witch hunt environment without assurances against prosecution. >> those of us around the table old enough to remember 1986 and 1987, iran-contra. this story is taking off at warp speed. what are your insights this morning, david? >> first, joe, yesterday was a day that you felt dizzy every couple hours there was some new
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extraordinary development in this story. sometimes i think it's like listening to the watergate tapes live. >> it is. >> i think the central development yesterday is the beginning of the incommunimuinc negotiati immunity negotiations for mike flynn. he says he has a story to tell and wants to negotiate. what is it that mike flynn wants to say that would be important in this investigation? we can only speculate. the central issue right now, i think, is that he can talk about the conversations he had with donald trump about his contacts with russian ambassador sergey kislyak in the phone call on the 29th, the same time the obama administration was imposing
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sanctions, he can talk about what trump's directives were. going to his heart of the conversation with the president, that's the door that seems to be opening with this offer of negotiation. >> david, you're talking about the dizziness. we'll get to nunes in a second. the fact that you had staffers alerting the chairman of the intel committee, come over, we have some information we want to give you that you can circulate outside of here. all of this unfolding. unfolding without the need of deep throat derived somewhere in washington, d.c. >> he's on speed dial now. and he has an uber preset route. so the nunes piece of this is extraordinary. as we learn more, it's a piece of theater in which two white
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house nsc advisers, maybe a third, according to the "washington post" this morning, conduct research to back up donald trump's argument that in some way he was improperly surveilled during the transition. they clearly have that material at the white house in early march. and the strange thing is that nunes became the transmission belt putting that into play after people kept getting rebuffed. it's not wiretapping, it's incidental intercepts. it ended up coming out this way, you have to say with adam schiff saying we're interested, we want to learn about this. he will go up to the white house and look at the same material, that there will be two narratives at least in th house investigation. one about russian covert action.
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the other was was there improper surveillance. in that sense you have to say trump got what he wanted out of the last three weeks. >> the senate intelligence committee held its first hearing into russian meddling in the 2016 election. republican senator jim langford of omaha had this exchange with former fbi special agent clint watts, and why the russian attack on this election took hold. >> my question is, first, why did he think he could get away with it this time? this is not new for the russians. they've done this for a long time across europe. but it was much more engaging this time in our election. why now? >> i think this answer is very simple and is what no one is saying in this room, which is part of the reason active measures have worked in this u.s. election is because the commander in chief has used russian active measures at time
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against his opponents. on 14 august, 2016 his campaign chairman, after a debunked -- >> you say his, who's his? >> paul manafort used a fake story on cnn as a talking point. on 11 of october, president trump stood up and talked about a fake news on sputnik news. he denies the information about russia he claims the election could be rigged. that was pushed by outlets up to the election. he made claims of voter fraud that president obama is not a citizen, that, you know, congressman cruz is not a citiz citizen. so part of reason active measures works and it does today in terms of trump tower being wiretapped, they parrot the same lines. putin is correct. he can say he's not influencing anything because he's just
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putting out a stance. until we get a firm basis on fact and fiction in our own country, get some agreement about the facts, whether it's do i support the intelligence community or a a story i read on my twitter feed, we'll have a big problem. i can tell you now today, gray outlets that are soviet pushing accounts, tweet at president trump during high-volumes when they know he's online. and they push conspiracy theories. if he's to click on one of those or cite one of those, it proves putin correct. >> okay. that's -- >> frightening. >> frightening. for the record, we were talking yesterday about republican senators starting to step into the gap here. >> i guess. >> and say enough is enough. there's a conservative state, basically setting this guy up. >> yeah. >> to talk about how putin -- >> encourages him to go on. >> how president trump is putin's dupe. >> you have adults running the senate intelligence committee. that's the big difference. >> that changes the complexion
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of this investigation, it clearly is not the case in the house where you have nunes going off -- >> undisciplined, partisan, secretive, inappropriate and not credibility. >> just plain wrong. coming up, we will talk about the three names who purportedly provided nunes with that information. and jim himes will join us on set. first, here's bill karins with a look at what could be a major travel mess in the northeast today. bill? >> it's already building up, joe and mika. we're watching a nor'easter arriving. it's a long druration event. we can see it exiting the hudson valley, moving to the northeast. here isl laguardia airport, 2 12 hours of delays. in new york city, here's the brooklyn bridge.
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you can tell why they're having problems with the airports, and planes landing with the clouds, rain and low ceiling. in the middle of the screen, that's one of the high peaks on the brooklyn bridge. not a nice day. i expect delays to build, d.c., baltimore, philly and new york. the northeast and new england has to deal with snow. it's from the mass pike northwards. the mountains up to a foot of snow. boston, four inches, a heavy, wet snow for you. the southern end of the storm, severe weather possible for richmond and eastern north carolina and the myrtle beach area. a storm system moving from the great lakes, and over the weekend f you're in texas or oklahoma, we could have strong storms and severe weather to deal with. by far the worst day of the next three is right now, mid-atlantic and the northeast. just dealing with a nasty end of march. let's get rid of march. it was ab ugly montn ugly month. you're watching message mchblgt
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. welcome back to "morning joe." we want to dig more into the reports of who furnished devin nunes with his information. ezra cohen watnick came on board from michael flynn, and it was reported when h.r. mcmaster took over as security adviser he tried to oust ezra watnick and president trump intervened at the urging of kushner and bannon. the "washington post" has a story on the alleged involvement of a third official reporting that ezra cohen took intelligence reports that mentioned trump campaign officials or suggested they were monitored inadvertently to the top lawyer for the security council, johnizen bu ize eisenb.
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>> so, they are inside the white house, help -- for those who don't know how this works, talk about how strange this is, you had people working at the nse, rum nmagining through, trying t find evidence, calling the house intel chair with information -- first he says i have information to take to the white house, he didn't. he goes to the white house, they feed it to him. he had this bogus meeting with the president, and holds a press conference out front. >> it has the appearance of an effort to gather what would be politically useful material for the president's counterpun punc against the investigation. we don't know the details. it's true that nse staffers who have security clearance, and cohen watnick came to work for
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the nsc under general mike flynn, did have those clearance, they have authority to look at the most sensitive material that the intelligence community is producing. that's clearly what watnick was doing for some weeks. others team to have gotten drawn into that. then there's a train process where they decide it's not getting out adequately, so they draw in nunes. adam schiff, ranking member on the house intelligence committee expressed real anger in his comments yesterday about that process. about th >> we've never seen anything quite like this, white house staffers go to somebody on the hill, give them information. >> that can't be highlighted more. >> it's so obvious. this is so obvious. i'm not saying, hey, we told you so -- >> you literally did. >> the day he was going over to the white house, i said he's
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going over to the white house -- here. you know why? because chances are very good he got his "information from a panicked white house." he played pr rep for trump. that was written the day, casey, that he went over there. and it's just not that hard. which means there are a lot of people on the hill that understand, too, just -- there's not another word for this. just how stupid people are inside the white house that it has to be causing some panic among republicans on capitol hill now. >> joe, i think that's right. there's some question here, what exactly was nunes aware of here. did he go to the -- he made this show of informing the president about what he had learned when we're learning now, of course, that the national security council should have a direct line there. even the president's reaction was a bit understated.
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i think every time nunes has gone in front of cameras, it's become more confusing. i stood in briefing after briefing with him where you ask the same question a couple times in a row, because his answers are not necessarily clear. you get three different answers. i was standing in a hallway yesterday, i won't name the person who made this comment to me, they used words i can't say on the air, but this person said that guy just can't catch a break. if that's true, it's all of his own making. it does contrast, i think, with what we're seeing on the senate intelligence committee. the other thing that was interesting that came out of that hearing was them saying to marco rubio, you were a victim of 34meddling, too. marco rubio is the only republican during the campaign who stepped out and said, hey, republicans, this hacking, this could happen to you. don't dismiss it he was literally all by himself.
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>> coming up on "morning joe," former fbi agent clint watts joins us, whose testimony before the senate yesterday sent a chill down our spines. "morning joe" is back after this. >> follow the trail of dead russians. there's been more dead russians in the past three months tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the world. they're dropping dead even in western countries. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ sfx: engine revving ♪
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i think this answer is very simple and is what no one is really saying in this room, which is part of the reason active measures have worked in this u.s. election is because the commander in chief has used russian active measures at times against his own opponents. president trump stood on the stage and cited what appears to be a fake news story that disappears from the internet. he denies the intel from the united states about russia. he claimed that the election could be rigged. that was the number one theme pushed by r.t. sputnik news outlets up to the election. the other part we should be looking at is follow the trail of dead russians. there's been more dead russians in the past three months tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the
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world. they are dropping dead even in western countries. these are all huge openings to understand how they're funded by the russians. i don't have the capability do that from where i sit, but that's a huge angle. >> clint watts testifying yesterday on capitol hill. he joins us now. thank you for being on. >> thanks for having me. >> off of your testimony yesterday which was enlightening and frightening, and we're in the early stages of this investigation as a country, and as a business, the media, new s business, at this point are you worried or concerned about the potential of collusion between elements of the trump campaign and russian intelligence services? >> yes. there's two-ways to look at how russian active measures get propelled among the trump campaign. is it coordination and synchronization? at times people on twitter said
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i have talked to wikileaks, they have something coming out. to me, that's collusion. the other part is opportunism, which is also strange. why would you look to russian propaganda to go against an american opponent? that's crazy, especially coming from a republican candidate, looking back to the reagan era, this is the party tough on the soviet union, tough on russia. we have a candidate now in a president citing sue ining russ propaganda go after opponents. either scenario is scary. collusion is the worst. >> david has a question. >> i want to ask you what, for me, remains one of the mysteries here. why the obama administration did not move more aggressively back last summer when information about what the russians were doing was beginning to be clear. why didn't they do more? could they have deterred some of this russian action if they had? >> i think the big miss on the
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obama administration is they did not understand that the hacking drives influence. we were obsessed with hacking, just hacking, hacking, hacking and investigations. they did not understand what the whole purpose of the hacking was to influence the campaign and to arm rush prop graaganda so they could influence the campaign. there's a disjointed nature in our government between the fbi's investigation and what the implications would be from an ill intelligence standpoint. now they understand it, when it happened back july and august of last year, they didn't know how to react and were slow, didn't do anything. >> steve ratner? >> so you think that gap lies at the fbi, that they're the ones who did not really make that connection between the two and there was nobody at justice or the white house or anywhere else who said there are broader implications than simply whether the russians are getting into our e-mail systems? >> no, it's one of those scenes you see when we don't have a good government approach for a threat. we have been so distracted on
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terrorism over the past three, five years with the isis threat is no one is look at why did they wanted to hack this information? we always thought it was compromised information to hack into peoples accounts, steel bank account information, nobody was focused on why they would want this. it's not the fbi's naulfault, t were doing the investigation they were supposed to but who covers down on russian intel. >> clint watts, thank you very much for that. coming up on "morning joe," game on thrones, that's what some compare inside the white house to. first, congressman jim himes of the house intel committee joins the table. we'll get his take on how devon nunes reportedly got his information on surveillance of trump tower.
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>> did you help provide devin nunes with intelligence information? >> i'm not talk about anything. >> nothing to say. >> wow. that was -- >> oh. >> white house staffers -- >> they don't want to be there. you don't want to be in that spot. >> you really don't. >> come on. >> michael ellis this morning refusing to answer questions on whether they were the ones who -- >> some young reporters there. >> reportedly giving devin nunes intelligence on surveillance on trump tower. let's bring in hallie jackson. >> hallie, were you chasing them down? >> no, not this morning. two producers out of our d.c. bureau had gone -- the garage stakeout is a tough -- >> that's a tough one. >> did they actually go in the garage? >> i can't tell. >> if somebody went in my garage, their camera would not get out of my garage.
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that's interesting. >> the bottom line is -- no comments from either of these guys. that's the bottom line. not at all in any way shape or form surprising, let's be clear on that. >> true. >> right. >> the third guy, ezra cohen watnick is someone you guys have been talking about this morning. nothing from him on camera. the "new york times" and the "washington post" report these three names had some role in the revelations that nunes came out with last week. you can see the "times" piece here. a lot of intrigue about who goat the information. >> how did devin nunes get this information? the white house also doesn't want to talk about it. you saw sean spicer yesterday repeatedly asked about this. for several days now spicer has been saying he would follow up on whoever cleared nunes in, et cetera. it's turned into a tongue lashing of the media on why
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people are focused on what he describes as process, not sub sense. one of our colleagues from cbs news tried to press spicer and say doesn't all of this connecting of the dots, doesn't it actually create some kind of substantive concern for the white house? doesn't it then become relevant to what we're all talking about? you are hearing the white house publicly at least shut down discussion of this. behind the scenes there is, i can say, concern based on our reporting, about information getting out to reporters for whatever reason it is. paul ryan was talking about this a little bit over the last 24, 48 hours or so. and here's how he has described whoever these source or sources are for devin nunes. >> he had told me that -- a whistle-blower type person had given him some information that was new, that spoke to the last administration. and part of this investigation. >> did you encourage him to then
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go tell the president about it? >> no, but i told him to add it to his investigation. >> yununes so far has not revead his connection to the president or others on the committee. >> tough producinger we have. >> go get 'em. >> aggressive producers. at some point, process, bad news -- sometimes process becomes substance. when process, when you undertake a process to deliberately mislead people, you get a dupe to be part of a process -- >> whose the dupe? >> nunes. >> i want sure. >> it's a long list, actually. >> it is a long list. not to -- i mean, obstruction of justice is also a process. >> right. >> exactly. >> just saying. >> i got to say, i will read this tweet again. i think this is actually one of
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the quotes of the week. forget the myth that the media has created about the white house. the truth is these guys are not very bright guys, and things get out of hand. >> well -- >> i don't think you have halderman and urlich here. >> oh. >> i think you have abbott and costello. the guy running the abbott and costello show. i love this line you said this morning. this is the must read of the morning. >> mike allen is here, by the way. >> happy friday! >> yes. yes. >> greatest thing ever. >> oldie but a goldy. donald trump realizes his approach has flopped. he feels baffled and paralyzed about how to fix it numerous friends and advisers tell us. >> i know you're hearing the same thing, late at night in the white house residence, he's calling his friends of 30, 40 years and saying what happened?
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he thought that he had brought in people who knew congress, including the vice president. he thought people -- that he had people who could specifically -- specifically knew house republicans, it didn't work. one person said he's working out his frustration, and the president likes building amalgys. this person said the team did not put the windows in right. >> but, joe -- >> gene, mike. >> mika. >> would this all be happening if he had not tweeted that saturday morning? it would be, right? it would be. >> because there was chaos before then. >> exactly. >> the problem all comes down to the fact that he doesn't have anybody inside the white house that knows how washington works. it would be like building a 90-story skyscraper without getting anybody who had built a billing before. >> exactly. they have no idea who to do this. look at the way they did healthcare.
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look at the way they're really approaching anything. >> how about twitter? >> look how they're still insulting members of congress that they need for votes. >> mine is related to yours. it might be bigger, he has no one that will tell him no and he has no one to listen to. >> no one. and there are some nice people around him, including members of his family. but let's just be honest. they don't know what they don't know at this point. if they did, they would be telling him to stop on a number of levels, because they're seeking advice from the outside. they're getting it, they're not taking it. >> the problem is, along those lines, mika -- >> they don't have the spine. >> along all the lines, they believe, just like everybody that gets into the white house, that they were the first people to crack the code. they're smart, everybody else is stupid. that's why they still think we can do this ourselves. i got bad news for them, they
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can't do it without professionals. 35% will go to 25%, just like i said, 45% would go to 35%. if they don't bring in people who know how washington works. >> that's great byte you had earlier this morning. someone said washington is winning. it's understandability that they feel that way. the president feels his approach, the multiple centers of power, the family involved, the lack of accoun5accountabilid transparency, that worked for him in business, he thinks it will work in the campaign. >> it won't work if everybody is giving you bad advice, you're trying to decide, and you have no basis of knowledge or experience on which to make those decisions. there is no way that works. >> joe, you say it happens every time, that everyone comes in thinking they're the first person. i think it's different. we know donald trump, we've seen this happen in realtime, in
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person. you give someone like jared, ivanka, like anybody in the white house who wants some advice as to how to help donald trump be a better president, you give that person the advice, those people completely compute the advice, they get in front of him and they can't say it. there's something about donald's presence that sg ndoes not alloy advice, even with his family. >> he talks about being a great businessman, he was never a businessman, mike, of a public company where he was the ceo. if he had board members that he had to answer to over the mast 30 years, he would know how to deal with congress, he would know how to deal with the courts. he would know how to deal with checks on his power. i don't know if he's figured it out yet, but we've been saying to him privately or publicly now for four, five months, courts will check you. congress will check you. >> so-called congress.
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>> you can't run over so-called courts or so-called congress. you can't run over these people. they will cut you to bits. i warned him about the intel community. i'm saying that only because i warned him on this show live at least100 times that the intel community will chop you up in bits. yet look what happened. they didn't listen. they were smarter than everybody. >> that goes to the business success. his business had no accountabili accountability. now you're in the position of ultimate public accountability, and you add to that. even if you give them the benefit of the doubt on everyone, which you know from your conversations fewer and fewer people on their team are doing, if you give them the benefit of the doubt on everyone, they're handling this in the way to create the per section of maximum guilt to inflict maximum damage on what they're trying to accomplish and produce maximum distraction.
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what are you hearing about the move, katie walsh, deputy assistant chief of staff? >> she was ranked number two, and she was disgusted with the toxic atmosphere. she wanted out of there. but there were plenty of people in the west ring who thought she was ranked as a spy and are happy to see her go. >> i read a couple stories yesterday that said, oh, they had this meeting. the meeting was to get her to good out. she'll help from the outside. i don't know her. i've seen her once or twice, going into and out of the white house. >> all i can tell you is that we'll put it out here. you know, she excluded gary kohn from several meetings at reince's behest. gary kohn -- >> gets colorful. >> gary kohn kicked down the
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door and said why was i left out of here. you can tell from everyone we heard inside the white house that her days were numbered from that day. i'm sure the white house will deny that, et cetera. that's exactly what happened. what this shows is -- not even reading the tea leaves, reince priebus and steve bannon are increasingly isolated. i personally think that reince priebus will survive longer than bannon well. you will be surprised at highway dean that powell, jared and ivanka are getting strong and stronger. that would be hopefully good, maybe they would say something. >> the president believes that steve bannon holds the keys to 2018 and 2020. >> the president still believes that? you mean for democrats or republicans? >> he does not allow any constructive criticism to come his way ever.
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there is no one that can do it. >> that guy does not hold keys to a scooter. steve bannon? seriously. this guy is so overmatched. >> well -- >> let's get him a ves pa. >> he's obviously out of his depth, that moment he went to the freedom caucus, saying you have no choice. you have to support it. there was nothing more guaranteed to get their backs up. >> that and cleaning out another bathtub with acid chld. >> let's go to sara eisen. >> clean out the bathtub with acid? >> sometimes you have to clean the bathtub. >> why with acid? that's a scene from a movie, i don't know. let's change topics now. let's talk about what's
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happening on wall street. >> well, i'm will being to y'm con investigatic conversation about the struggles inside the white house, but the market is sending a message of optimism. you're seeing strong gain s by the market, up 6% for the first three months of this quarter. lifted by hopes of the trump growth policies, namely infrastructure spending, corporate tax cuts, or even tax reform, personal cuts as well. and, yes, some of those gains have subsided in the last week since the healthcare bill failed on friday. but there is still hopes of these policies. that is driving a big confidence boost for consumers and for investors, guys. the big uncertainty is on trade and on that front the president
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is expected to sign two executive orders to review existing trade deficits and to enforce some anti-dumping rules where foreign manufacturers can undercut u.s. companies by lowering prices of various goods. >> as soon as as soon as's sara eisen, thank you. sometimes the bathtub can only be cleaned out with acid. >> with acid. >> this according to steve bannon's former landlord. thank you very much. >> was like they wanted -- >> can i ask -- we have to do a poll really quick. has anybody around the table cleaned out a bathtub with acid? >> clorox. >> tips fr s fros from heloise. >> so google steve bannon, bathtub, acid, "washington post." coming up next, we'll ask
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our next guest if he's ever cleaned out any of his bathtubs with acid. >> he'll plead the fifth. i mean wish i had time to take care of my portfolio, but.. well, what are you doing tomorrow -10am? staff meeting. noon? eating. 3:45? uh, compliance training. 6:30? sam's baseball practice. 8:30? tai chi. yeah, so sounds relaxing. alright, 9:53? i usually make their lunches then, and i have a little vegan so wow, you are busy. wouldn't it be great if you had investments that worked as hard as you do? yeah. introducing essential portfolios. the automated investing solution that lets you focus on your life. w...i was always searching for ways to manage my symptoms. i thought i had it covered. then i realized managing was all i was doing. when i finally told my doctor, he said humira was for people like me who have tried other medications,... but still experience the symptoms
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when a fire destroyed the living room. we were able to replace everything in it. liberty did what? liberty mutual paid to replace all of our property that was damaged. and we didn't have to touch our savings. yeah, our insurance won't do that. well, there goes my boat. you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty stands with you™ liberty mutual insurance in a moment, we're going to be speaking with a member of the house intelligence committee, congressman jim heinz asking him about acid. >> no, we're not going to ask him about that. >> i saw that on "breaking bad."
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>> when you are given immune thety, that means you are probably committed a crime. >> then michael flynn is commit admitting he probably committed a crime. >> innocent until proven fwlt. >> former adviser michael flynn could be flipping on the president. >> yesterday was a day that you felt dizzy. it's like listening to the watergate tapes live. the senate intelligence committee held its first hearing into russian meddelling. >> you have adults running the senate intelligence committee. >> that clearly is not the case in the house. >> very undisciplined, heart is an, secret, not credible. >> you want to be on the side of correct. if you're still in suck up mode, you're very unself-aware. >> why would these staffers give it all to nunes? >> because it was all a show. >> a badly produced show. >> are you worried about the potential of collusion?
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>> yes. and at times we saw people say hey, on twitter, i've talked to lucifer. to me, that's collusion. >> what do you think of claire's concerns? >> you have two people confronting each other. one pulls out a sword and says i've got the power. the other pulls out a machine gun and says, go ahead. >> if they don't get on the team and fast. >> he can bring air force one, marine one and amtrak one. it's not going to change what i'm going to do. >> wow. >> wow is right. >> a member of the select committee on intelligence, democratic congressman jim hines joins the table. hello. >> hello. i'm injury ming congressman, i can ask you what i want to ask you. do you ever watch "breaking bad?" . >> i do. >> i was going to ask you why do you use acid in a bathtub? >> there could be bodies there. thanks for that. it will take a while to get out
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of my mind. >> nunes, it was all a scam. we knew it was a scam from the beginning, but we had confirmation. nunes says i'm going to the white house to give them information. the white house gives them information and he goes and holds a press conference outside the white house. how can you ever work with that guy again as your chairman? >> wbl you know, as you know, last week, a bunch of us called for his recusal. and it was hard for us to do because until last week, we had been pretty constructive. we were working on witness lists together, we had an open hearing. interestingly enough, the second open hearing which was supposed to be last week got cabseled. but look, the ranking member has been invited to the white house to look at this intelligence, to hopefully get to the bottom of what it actually is. and then there's the questions about how it was treated. yeah, why do you go to the white house, take information from the white house and then take it to the president? we've got to get to the bottom of all of that before -- >> finding out who let him in? >> well, you know, i don't have confirmation that the sources
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that the "new york times" reported were his sources, but who knows? >> but those guys had to go fishing for that information. >> that's the weird thing. the national security council, this a group of people that reads finished intelligence. this drug dealer in this location is doing this. they don't typically spend a lot of time on raw intelligence on intercepts. yet here they were with these intercepts. we need to understand why. and why instead of going to the guy that they worked for, the president of the united states, the if, in fact, they have something concerning but instead called a chairman of a totally separate branch of the government. that's weird. >> i think we know why. i think they were scouring for anything that might conceivably be construed as backing up the tweet from the president about the false tweet about being wiretapped. and so they're scouring around to see what they can find. >> so what's the next move? >> the senate seems to be handling this somewhat constructively. can you guys get back on track? >> you know, i really hope so. i think we got a lot of work to do and the first step is next week ranking member shift and
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ultimately the whole committee going to look at all of this stuff and talking with about what happened in the last week. look, we don't have an outside commission, which is what we always should have had here. other than the senate, we're the only game in town. so a lot of us democrats are hesitant to say let's just shut this down because this investigation needs to move forward. >> what's your take on the michael flynn i'll do a deal? >> well, you know, what does he have, right? and why does he feel like he's in legal jeopardy, such that he needs to say i want immunity? you ran the clip of him saying when you ask for immunity, there's usually something to be immune from. so, you know, we have not heard the last of michael flynn. obviously, we need to be really careful here, right? because congress and -- and this is important. congress could give him immunity, but if he's in legal jeopardy with the fbi or law enforcement, you want to be really careful that congress doesn't immunize him against stuff that perhaps the fbi or others are looking at. >> totally agree. okay. >> would nunes have the power to do that? >> you know, i've never seen
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this before in the congress. it doesn't happen a lot. but i have to assume -- i know a committee can grant immunity, i would assume that happens through a committee vote. but we'll see next week. >> so republicans could -- i'm just saying, if you take this to its partisan extension, can nunes and the republicans ram through an immunity deal? so flynn could be protected. >> if you want to take the darkest, most kind of conspiracy oriented take on this, yeah. let's just say flynn is in legal jeopardy for some reason and the majority of a house committee decides to take that off the table -- >> how do we think jim comey would react to that? i don't think he would react well. >> that would be ugly. >> congressman jim hines, thank you very much. >> thank you, jim. >> and we leave you this morning. we want to correct the record .make sure we -- you know, we have a section that we want to be complete from that washington post article we were talking about about how steve banyan leased in miami. quote, the house was left in
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disrepair according to an e-mail between the landlord and banyan. padlocks had been placed on interior doors or the doors had been removed altogether. a hot tub was destroyed. entire jacuzzi bathtub seems to have been covered in acid. i apologize. it was the jacuzzi. i'm out of town, banyan replied. is there any way you can talk with diane and sort things out? >> so we do -- we feel bad. we said that he covered the bathtub. >> but it was a jacuzzi. >> it was a jacuzzi that was covered in acid. that explains it. everybody fills their jacuzzis with acid, don't they? right? >> and removes all the interior doors. >> right. so trump said he had the key toes 18 and 20. i said he didn't even have a key to a moped. he obviously didn't have keys -- >> keys to his house. padlocked it everywhere. >> that does it for us this morning.
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>> i don't understand. why would you do that? i'm confused. can you help sthp. >> no. >> have a great weekend. i'm chris jansing in for stephanie this morning. has flynn flipped? the former national security adviser asks for immunity. his lawyer says he has a story to tell. his past words, though, coming back to bite the white house. >> when you are given immunity, that means you've probably committed a crime. >> inside sources, the mystery revealed. intel chairman david nunes secret sources for classified information reportedly three people. who work for the president. our cameras catch two of them exclusively this morning. >> i'm not talking about anything. >> have a good day. >> plus, friendly fire. trump takes aim at his own party, calling out members of the freedom caucus and threatening to work against their re-election. well, they're firing back. >> it may allow a

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