tv Morning Joe MSNBC July 12, 2017 3:00am-4:21am PDT
we just won indiana, things are going a million miles an hour again. i heard about this thing but maybe this is something i should hear now. in retrospect, i probably would have done things a little differently. this is before the russian mania. before they were building it up in the press. for me this was opposition research but stories that were probably underreported for years, not just during the campaign but i think i wanted to hear it out but it went nowhere. >> in behindsight, meeting with a foreign national linked with a hostile government to trash an american political opponent may not have been the best place. >> it keeps changing. the explanations keep changing. the first someplace was actually drafted by the white house, the adoption lie and signed off by
donald trump himself. so this is just another part. >> good morning. it is wednesday, july 12th. welcome to morning joe. with this we had veteran columnist and nbc contributor mike barnicle, former treasury official steve rattner, msnbc's mark halperin, julie pace and now an msnbc justice and security analyst, matthew miller. good to have you all. before we get to the actual e-mail trail that donald trump jr. released yesterday himself, this bit of recording is significant. quoting from the paper, "as air force one jetted back on saturday, a small cadre of the president's advisers huddled in the cabin helping to craft a
statement to give to the "new york times" explaining why he met last summer with a lawyer in the russian government. they debated how transparent to be in the statement according to people familiar with the russians. ultimately the president signed off on a statement from donald trump jr. for the "times i " "times"incomplete that it required follow-up statements day after day. >> really it was a lie. that statement was a lie. it had to do with adoptions. they had to retract it immediately. it got so bad yesterday that donald trump jr. knew the "times" was about to completely expose what he said was a lie. but at least saturday was part of a white house coverup. >> that what you just saw and you just said it, it was an
attempt by the white house, signed off by the president of the united states to cover up the story. and don jr. went away from the story compe completely. that was very explicit in that e-mail from goldstone to donald trump jr. this is about hillary, potential ties to russia and this is part of russia's support for mr. trump. nothing to do about adoption until later when they realized there was no information they could use against hillary clinton. >> well, that they're telling us and a very significant part of the lie for the investigators, mike barnicle, is the fact that don jr. also lied saying, no, manafort and kushner weren't made of a way of what this meeting was about. he forwarded the entire e-mail chain that said right off the top "russia-clinton-private and
confidential." they are lying every single day. >> and he has thus placed jared kushner in i would think great legal peril. certainly he's put him in peril of losing his security clearance, jared kushner. but what the e-mails really do point out and point to is i don't know what the exact definition of collusion is, i'm not a lawyer, but i do know what the exact definition of right and wrong was and this was wrong. the e-mails prove beyond a shadow of the doubt when the president said last week in europe that nobody really knows whether russia was involved. well, we now know for sure russia was involved and we now now for sure donald trump jr. sat there and was willing to participate with russia.
>> we can no w no longer say donald trump was looking to participate. there was a blaring headline and we now know jared kushner was willing to sit down and paul manafort was willing to sit down with someone they believed to be an agent of the kremlin, being part of a conspiracy between the kremlin and any willing participants they could find in the trump administration to help donald trump get elected president of the united states. it's all in that e-mail, all forwarded to jared kushner and all forwarded to paul manafort and i can guarantee you that neither one of those gentlemen went into that meeting without reading that e-mail. >> and donald trump jr. strikingly did not back off from that position yesterday, taking the position that, hey, if it's good information, who cares if it would come from the russians
as long as it was confirming things he wanted confirmed. there's so much going on with the last few days with donald trump jr. there are stories that get to some of what is goes on behind the scenes both in washington and capitol hill. >> talk about that, mark halperin. but by all accounts that we personally heard and you can also read in the newspapers that it's chaos behind the scenes. it is like -- they sound like they're on the tithic and they know they just hit something hard, an immovable object. >> it's own a three-hour show so we can't talk about all the things going on but i'll list a couple i've picked up. one is this position that donald jr. is taking and others around him are taking, a core group, that this was fine, that all this negative information about hillary clinton would have been
fine. that has really shocked a lot of republicans, including trump loyalists, who say that is not fine with them and that makes them for the first time -- people i talked to yesterday -- suspicious that there's something to this that they did not think there was. as stories accurately say, there is chaos within the white house, more than even usual as people look at where these leaks are coming from. the "times" has identified some of the sours as coming from inside the white house and there is concern, is this an attempt to get rid of jared kushner, is it an attempt to undermine the president's legal team? this is not a surprise obviously to anyone who has followed this but the president is said to be consumed by this, even more than he has been over the last few months with few other occasions matching his focus on this and
the news coverage on this minute by minute. >> mika, there are conservative writers that have been skeptical about russia from the beginning, who yesterday broke and said this at least shows them that -- david french hasn't been skeptical but he was like maybe there's been too much of a reliance on it but david french with "the national view" and several others who said wasn't sure about the russian investigation but now i know not only is it not a diversion, i think david french said it's a national priority. >> well, it's kind of hard to ignore or blame it on fake news when donald trump jr. is actually tweeting the information, which is incriminating itself. >> and all the information is coming from the white house leaking. >> it's incredible. julie pace, what about jared kushner's security clearance at this point? >> that's a great question. this is what separates jared
kushner right now from donald trump jr., even though the son is the one that organized the meeting. jared kushner is sitting in the west wing, he has security clearance. it was notable in the off-camera briefing that sarah huckabee sanders had yesterday when this question came up, she didn't say, yes, he has his security clearance. privately officials say he has that clearance. but for democrats and republicans on the hill, this could become a prime target, having someone in the west wing that filled out a security clearance form that was incredibly incomplete, based on not just what we've heard on this story. he's in a unique position within the white house. he has a high powered team, he has his own staff doing his own
p.r. on his behalf. he's operating as his own entity in there. >> what the examples of the three or so russian-connected -- kremlin-connected russians that he forgot to put on his disclosure form? >> el with, well, in addition t meeting with don jr. and paul manafort, there was the meeting he attended with mike flynn and sergei kislyak and there has been this meeting with the russian banker about why the russian bank are was having this meeting in the f irs place and l this was tied to kushner's own personal business dealings. >> and steve, here how do you forget you met with a russian
who said they were connected with the kremlin and were going to give you incriminating bits of information and you were the -- >> and you were there with paul manafort and don jr. >> and with the promise that don jr. was on your side and was going to help your candidate get elected president. how do you forget to put that on your form. >> you have to list all your contacts with foreign nationals, not just simply you were discussing potentially illegal campaign contributions or not. ironically jared kushner may have the greatest at stake because it's a felony to knowingly omit things or lie on that form. there are other legal questions that are a bit murkier. this is a pretty clear one. >> it's interesting, though, donald trump's june's explanation last night on fox news is the reason it wasn't
reported, the reason he didn't tell his father or the candidate at the time about the meeting is because he said it was a nothing meeting. the problem is you don't get to decide what meetings you report and what you don't report. bob mueller and others now will determine l that was a nothing meeting. the fact that you didn't get the information you wanted doesn't nullify it as a significant meeting because you were seeking information from a foreign national. >> we don't know if it was an insignificant meeting. they have lied about everything else. they lied about what the meeting involved, they lied about whether they informed kushner and manafort, they -- i mean, there's been three or four days of lies. how do we not know this meeting wasn't the most significant meeting they took all summer? >> the fact at that it was insignificant. i meant the assertion that it was insignificant which was totally his defense as you listen to him. we know when you report and you
talk to people, you pick up a vibe and talking to some people around the white house and watching donald trump jr. last night, you didn't see that trump swagger, i would say. trump retweeted something. >> he's not very vocal. he usually loves to respond to things that are personal. >> you do feel as they're reporting they're more concerned about this, because of the facts, because of the e-mails that donald trump jr. put out himself than they have been about previous developments. >> there is now a public face of the gop and a private face of the gop. matt miller, with regard to this one young man who is working in the employ of the white house, jared kushner, he has as high a security clearance as can you have and yet he did not have the judgment after receiving those e-mails to realize this was just wrong, that russia is not our friend, russia is our enemy.
so what would be the process now of revoking that security clearance? >> so there are two things that could happen. one, there could be a permanent revocation of his security clearance but there's also something short of that that would happen to any other employee in the federal government if they were in the situation that kushner is is in. jared kushner is a person of interest in this investigation. that's been reported for over a month now. anyone else if -- if they failed disclose a series of meetings with russian interests. some of those meetings came just two weeks before he submitted that security clearance. it makes it very hard to believe it was an accidental omission. anyone else would have their security clearance suspended, they would be taken off of working on any matters which involve the government to which they seem to have exposure and it would stay suspended until the conclusion of the fbi
investigation, at which point you would find taught whether there was anything wrong done to resume classes. it's clear that it's not happening here because it's the president's son-in-law and the president doesn't care. >> and, mark halperin, again, the admission of the banker, the admission of the ambassador and certainly the admission of a person that is sold as a kremlin-connected lawyer, who is going to work with you and the russian government to rig the election so donald trump wins, is not a meeting that any human being would forget they had. and is no way in a federal prosecutors will not see it that same exact way. >> one of the -- again, there's so much going on behind the scenes now. one of the concerns of people who are interested in the political help of the white house is how bob mueller is
going to see this meeting. a very patriotic guide, a guy who's got a nose for things that look a little bit or very much off. people are worried this is a big siren and a big flashy -- someone has finally convinced him his tweets are not helpful, his family is not just in political peril, they're in legal peril. i go back to these two big questions people are speculating around the president. one is where are these leaks coming from? nd the other is you talked at the beginning of this crafting of the says statement. they knew for more than a week, i am told, that they had these documents, these e males that this chain existed. what prompted them to think they could bluff their way through
with the adoption story when they knew the e-mails were sitting out there. that is one of the many mysteries of those concerned about the president's political health that they're trying to get their arms around. >> they lied about, it they knew about the existence of the e-mails and the president of the united states and his staff worked to the to concoct this lie, con couldn't this cove cover-then that would help and the president of the united states signed off on that coverup letter. znd the president of the united states usually respond in multiple tweet and obsessions over time to anything personal and yet there was one statement from the president yesterday. i think it was actually released through his deputy press secretary, who he will not allow to go on camera.
>> no. >> and he says, "my son is a high-quality person and i applaud his transparency." >> and all he's done so far this morning is retweet a line, a host on fox news that said "i believe don jr. is the victim here." the president retweeted that this morning. >> the fact is they have now gotten so far into the bubble, i guess they've dug so far down low into the bunker that this is not nixon in '73, this is nixon in the summer of '74. no one believes that. no one on the hill believes he's a victim. no one believes that this isn't wrong, other than one or two propagandists in the media.
a lot of people in the white house are in -- i don't want to say meltdown mode but they no longer believe this is going to be okay. they, like a lot of conservative writers yesterday, woke up to the fact that this is not much ado about something, that there's something big here. try to describe what you're sensing inside the white house. >> this feels different talking to white house officials and trump advisers who work outside the building. for weeks and months you have heard people saying, well, we know this doesn't look good, we know that seems suspicious but this is based on anonymous sources or this is largely just circumstantial evidence. i think seeing the e-mails in black and white, having them released by don jr. himself moments before the "new york times" was going to publish the materia materials, that changed things for some white house advisers
who have been trying to give people the benefit of the doubt. and whether this results in any legal implications for anyone, whether this changes the trajectory of the mueller investigation, i think is almost beside the point when you talk to white house officials or trump supporters outside. they are struggling now with where this investigation goes, that it's something they'll be living with for months or years. >> how do you think it changes the investigation at hand and also the process of getting a new fbi director. >>. >> i think it changes the way we look at everything weird herd you knew that the trump campaign knew in june, it changes the way you look at trump's statement, it changes all of their denials.
i think that's what bob mule ser going to look at. now you know that early on before the release, remember this meeting was before the release of the hand dnc e-mails, obviously before the release of john podesta's e-mail. you have the president's own son sending a signal back to a kremlin intermediary sighing, eye great, we love it, we welcome your help." >> we now go -- >> update for you. >> we now go to zurich and the donald j. trump tweet desk. let's go to zurich and talk to our own willie geist. >> there's a long delay here. i apologize. the president just tweeted "my
son donald did a good job last night. he was opens are transparent and innocent. this is the greatest witch hunt in political history. sad! >> the sound you hear is the sound of the shovel hitting the dirt -- >> yeah. >> -- and him digging himself even deeper. the problem is with that, mike, is when he calls it the greatest political witch hunt in history and republicans on the hill and across america see the only thing hurting donald j. trump right now are his own words and himself own e-mails. it shows how desperate he is. >> you also alluded to earlier the increasing isolation of any president but in particular clearly this president right now where his biggest nemesis happens to be his oldest son, who can't stop talking it seems.
and you have as a result of that, and mark alluded to this, you have the public face of the gop of the senate and the house, many people still stand and sort of supporting this but you have the private face of the gop when you talk to people off camera, they are crazy with doubt. >> but even the public face, there's no support. there's nobody out there saying anything. i saw trey gowdy last night on one of the thoughs taking up all the things he thinks are wrong and how he wants to get to the bottom of it. >> mark halperin, there is very little support. there is an honor roll of republican senators, james langford, from oklahoma, a very conservative, pro-trum of state, it's the most remarkable thing for other senators to lock at james langford. he actually cares about what is right and what is wrong and he
doesn't couch his analysis of this in legal niceties. he taubes about what is right and what is wrong. he's been a stand-up guy. john mccain of course has, lindsey graham has some of the time, bill sass has all of the time. you're starting to see some republicans speak out, though most are just biting their tongues. >> but it extendsion those who are not afraid to challenge in their own party. there is not just a pro forma desire, there is a strong belief that this sorry in all its different tentacles must be revealed. so it was not that long ago doubt, you will recall, everyone will recall, about whether either the house or senate investigation was truly going to be bipartisan, l there was a thirst for truth on the part of the republicans or simply an effort to coordinate with the white house and manage the
process. that has disappeared. you talked to democrats now, a belief that republicans are committed to getting to the bottom of it. i think you're going to sigh summer, winter and beyond with serious hearings a preparations to get and compared to the legal investigation and whether that parallel exists. >> the timeline from june of 2016 is unbelievable. >> also ahead, the "new york times'" joe becker who is one of the reporters who has been breaking all of these stories on donald trump jr. plus from the intel committee, congressman eric swalwell and bob bauer, who has sfrd as white house council to president obama. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. >> i'm troubled on three levels, number one, the legal level but
i think that's bob mueller's lane. the political, here we are beginning another week, this one in july, with a new revelation about and the other is the amnesia of someone in the trump orbit. someone needs to everyone connected with the campaign in the room and say from the time you saw "dr. chivago," until the time you drank vodka with them, you turn this over because this is going to drip, drip, drip on this administration. ♪ and every room has its own chapter ♪ you've carried on your family's tradition.
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counsel to president obama. and also -- >> and he does not put out statements attacking other people of the white house but you were asked to, right? >> i was asked it release a story about another member written that the white house did not like. i said we do not do that. was. >> such an ignorance of what your function was and what the white house press corps was. >> it's the main interlocutor between the white house but it's not our role to do that. the white house can release a statement on reporting it doesn't like but we're not going to release a statement. >> bob bauer, i want to take a look at the timeline of early june 2016 when this meeting took place on june 3rd, a short time
after donald trump secured the delegates to become the apparent republican nominee, the intermediary, rob goldstone, reached out with an offer of russian government support against hillary clinton. trump jr. replied, "if it's what you say, i love it, especially later in the summer." on june 7th, 2016, donald trump made this promise. >> i am going to give a major speech on probably monday of next week, and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. >> so four days later donald trump -- what's next, mika? >> on june 8, the web site dc leaks identified a forum for russian military intelligence to release stolen data. >> that was the next day. >> on joon -- june 9th, they met
with the lawyer natalia veselnitskaya. >> this is moving so quickly. on the 3rd, the promise of information to destroy hillary and the next day d.c. leaks is set up and the next day a meeting. >> on june 12th, julian assange released information and on the 14th, hackers had penetrated the dnc. on june 15th, gucifer contacts
the web site the smoking gun to claim credit for the dnc hack. >> wow. okay, mike barnicle, a lot of things happened between june 3rd a -- 3rd and june 15th, the promise that russia was going to get involved to help get donald trump elected. the next day dc leaks opens up, the next day a meeting with a kremlin-backed attorney, three days later, assange says information on hillary clinton and a russian agent announces he's going to start releasing hillary clinton e-mails. >> it's a massive coincidence,
joe. bob bauer, i'd like to ask you on behalf of low i.q. people everywhere, i'm sitting in a meeting on june 9th and i have an attorney from russia coming in offering potential dirt on an opponent of my father running for president of the united states. can my defense today be i was just stupid, i didn't know anything about the law? is ignorance a defense here? >> i don't believe in this case and again there's a lot about the facts we don't know but i can't see how in this case that defense really has anyplace. this was a fairly deliberated meeting, it was undertaken very consciously, the senior management team of the campaign was coped ied on the e-mail. there was a precall between this mr. alagarov, so this was not an
impulsive decision. this would be an uphill climb. >> what did you mean by the precall? >> there was suggestion in the e-mail traffic that donald trump jr. says to mr. manafort, can i talk to mr. algarov. this isn't that you were simply dropping by, they had no idea she was a russian national, what she was coming for, there was the senior pras was copied. >> mike barnicle tried the ignorance defense. last night donald trump jr. asserts that no information exchanged hand, high walked out thereof, it turned out to be not what was advertised, they
started talking about adoption, ja jared kushner was on his phone. >> there's a legal issue raised here and -- about intent in a couple of places and a couple of respects. first of all, there is the overall intention to do business with the russian government over the campaign. that's going to color the interpretation of a whole host of other facts that we both know about and that may still surface in the investigation. second, the meeting itself could constitute a solicitation of something of value from a foreign national under the federal campaign finance laws. bear in mind that donald trump jr. says if what you say you have, then i would love it and it would be more useful later in the summer. under regulations of the federal election commission, the entire exchange constitutes on the part
of the campaign potentially a solicitation of something of value, which is an independent violation of the law. >> bob, i understand the level you're talking about is somewhat theoretical. if you're bob mueller looking at this, is this something he needs to a add quickly on or add this to the file that investigators and prosecutors will get to eventually? >> we have no idea what range of issues mr. mueller is looking into and all of this will take quite some time. this raise as host of questions that will have to be pursued. it's just more bread crumbs, if you will, that the investigators would follow. i would make one additional point i want to stress and that is that much of the press coverage focuses on the potential individual liability of trum of jr., but in fact this becomes a campaign problem, a problem for the campaign as an organization, as an entity because the solicitation that
may have taken place, the intent to do business with the russian government wasn't individual in character, it was a concerted effort within the campaign so it brings the campaign as an organization into the circle of liability. >> so, jeff, in that "washington post" story this morning on the climate inside the white house, the post reports a handful of operatives are scrambling to trump jr.'s defense by discrediting some journalists. quote, their plan, as one member of the team described it, is to research the reporters' previous work, going back years and exploit any perceived biasses. they intend to demand corrections and feed them to conservative outlets such as fox news. what's your reaction to that and, i mean, i'll tell you mine. i fool li i feel like this is more of the same from this white house, there is a deliberate, constant attempt to undermine the media. perhaps one might suggest in
their behind it's all so that the media is discredited, impaired a bit so when all this bad stuff comes out, people don't really understand what's going on. >> first of all, i don't have any independent knowledge of that so it's hard to say whether that's actually happening. but you're right there's been a pattern starting from the very top of the president of the united states using his communication vehicle of twitter and public comments -- >> and his white house. >> and his white house in his official capacity. -- >> as president. >> to use terms like "fake news" in an effort to undermine the media. all of the evidence is there that that's something that is a strategy that he likes to use, whether it's because of a story he doesn't like, because of a reporter or news organization he doesn't like, that is his m.o. >> and on q will he? >> he writes remember when u hear the word sources say from
the fake media, often times though sources are made up and do not exist. >> except one could say, mr., mr. president, the source is your son. i think that's a buffoon-like statement at this point. >> the white house uses an anonymous sources you'll tall t. >> nonstop. >> they'll speak to reporters and say -- it's used by lots of white houses and people who speak to reporters. it's disingenuous to say anything that does not have a name attached to it is not true when that's a practice used repeatedly. >> mike, i want to follow up on something that bob said. it helps to put context on this and where this lead. look at the "new york times" and there's of course a picture of
don jr. right here. we've got don jr. on the front of "the wall street journal," don jr. front of "the washington post" and don jr. the "daily news." it's everywhere. >> it not on the front of "the new york post." we're all talking about don jr. but as bob pointed out at the end, it's not going to be don jr. in trouble. it going to be jared kushner who is going to be in more legal trouble because of this, it's going to be the campaign. it might be the president. it can be people connected to the white house but at the end of the day, don jr., we're all talking about don jr. but this
brings in just about everybody but don jr. >> as bob bauer just pointed out, the campaign itself as a legal entity is now involved and ensnarled in illegality with the use of the e-mails. the use of the e-mails from the president's son, that's fact based. that's not fake news, that's fact based. >> yes. >> you have on the desks of every white house correspondent a tsunami of material just over the past week or so. >> provided by a principle source. >> what is the level of frustration within the white house press corps -- >> when you say "principle source," explain that. >> this is not provided by an aide. this is the president's son.
it's public. it's on his own twitter feed for everyone to see. there can be no question that the "new york times" got that, misread it, it's all written as public and it's from the horse's mouth. >> you not only have the e-mails, you have the conflicting public statements right after another starting on saturday where they kept changing their story and obviously some of those were lies. >> i do want you -- alex points out and he is correct that the "new york post" does have a headline "donald trump jr. is an idiot." they covered it inside with a headline that only the "new york post" can provide, "from russia with i love it." and one of the best editorials
today talking about moscow mule, they're talking about is it right or is it wrong. >> jeff mason, thank you very much. bob bauer, thank you very much. coming up, we'll hear what republicans on capitol hill make of the trump jr. controversy. nbc's kasie hunt caught up with several of them. she joins us straight ahead on "morning joe." ♪ ♪
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likely because she's a female journalist who speaks her mind. unlikely because her last name was far too difficult for him to spell. >> all right. that was fun last night. >> they give you good material. >> you've got you have that rogr the first "r". >> your band was great last night. yeah to scarborough. they were amazing. did anything else come up last night? >> not really. just going to wipe the fog off my glasses. >> i'm trying to remember. >> i think there was one other thing that came up last night. >> one other thing. i think it was this. take a look. >> uh-oh. what'd you set up? >> you've changed your attitude about donald trump. why haven't other republicans done the same? because you're a republican congressman, what do you think is happening with your own party? >> well, i think it's inexplicable. but this is well before donald trump was elected president that my party has betrayed their core values. i remember back in december of
2015 when donald trump supported a muslim ban. i said on the air, it's very simple, it's black and white. said i could never vote for anybody in my party that would say they were going to ban people because of the god they worshipped. you looked at -- in february, when he talked about david duke and pretended he didn't know who david duke was and didn't know what the ku klux klan did. you didn't have republicans coming out saying i can never support donald trump because he's racist. they would have a thousand other excuses why, but they always overlooked that. judge curiel, when he called a guy from indiana, attacked him said he could never be fair because he's hispanic. republicans didn't come out and say i could never vote for donald trump because he's a racist, time and time and time again they turned the other way. and they're doing the same thing now. it's actually disgusting. and you have to ask yourself what exactly is the republican party willing to do? how far are they willing to go? how much of this country and our values are they willing to
sellout? >> but aren't you a republican? >> um, i am a republican, but i'm not going to be a republican anymore. i've got to become an independent. >> just that. nothing more. just small news. that's big. >> no. no, it's not. i think a lot of republicans are feeling the same way. >> still a conservative. >> you apologize for your party for so long. and you hope that republicans when they get into power are going to balance the budget, are going to take care of entitlements as far as reforming entitlements, making sure that medicare and social security's around. you hope that they're going to push for education reform and give parents, all parents, an opportunity to let their kids go to the schools they want them to go to. you hope they're going to do the things they promised to do. and, you know, when george bush became president of the united states and republicans owned
washington, d.c., they doubled the national debt $155 billion surplus became a $1 trillion debt -- deficit. they engaged in foreign policy, they promised things would change and it hasn't changed. a $20 trillion debt is going to become a $30 trillion debt. they can't pass tax reform to make us more competitive. they can't do anything. and they're kowtowing to somebody who is -- who inexplicably shows them no loyalty whatsoever. i just don't know how people continue to be supportive of this president or this party until they return to first principles. >> julie pace, what are you looking at today? >> well, i think pivoting off of what joe said there, i mean, look at capitol hill. you have lawmakers up there, republican lawmakers who are desperate to try to get something done on health care.
bumping up against republican lawmakers who don't really like this bill and think this actually would be more damaging to the party long-term than to simply be able to point to a success on a long-term promise that they've made. they are doing this all against the backdrop of their relationship with president trump. and privately it is a relationship that is tense, that is weakening by the day, but publicly as long as republicans stand by him, i think that's all the white house needs to hear. >> i've got to say also, if you look at the health care process, we republicans attack barack obama for not being transparent enough. he had 18 months of hearings. republicans have just thrown these bills out there, the leadership. they haven't even let the rank and file of the party read these bills. they've done it in back rooms. it's the least transparent process ever when it comes to health care reform, ever. more rushed. they're going to reorganize
one-sixth of the economy based on what a few small groups of people decided they're going to do and they came up with a health care bill that actually hurts the most disadvantaged, the truly disadvantaged, and helps the wealthiest americans. it's just if you want to reform entitlements, that's fine, but we have to reform medicare, social security and medicaid at the same time. >> frustrating time to be a republican. all right. julie, thank you very much. thank you for being on this morning. coming up, donald trump jr. says he's happy to cooperate with congress. we're going to talk to one person who will likely take him up on that, member of the house intel committee congressman eric swalwell, that is next on "morning joe." ♪
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tweeted out the proof. like, so many people out there were trying to track this down. and it just -- got delivered on a tweet. what the hell? >> that is great. >> so funny. >> isn't that great? >> yeah. >> welcome back to "morning joe." it is wednesday july 12th. with us we have msnbc contributor mike barnicle, steve ratnor and msnbc mark halprin and nbc capitol hill repo reporter kaci hunt. >> marc, we'k, sum up what you'n hearing on capitol hill and what you've learned so far. and tell our viewers where you think we are right now in this story. >> republicans look at this latest thing and really question the judgment of the team around
the president to not acknowledge the error in judgment in their view of meeting with a russian figure said to be part of the government effort to aid the president's campaign and hurt hillary clinton. people are shaken by that on capitol hill. >> how shaken are republicans and former trump apologyists by this? >> well, not just republicans on the hill and apologyists, but some are at a minimum agreeing "the wall street journal" shows this shows an area of judgment, a degree of sloppiness that continued in the white house and people are very undermined by the obvious factions within the white house. not jockeying over office space, not jockeying over issues like policy, but doing things that are putting their colleagues in potential legal peril. that is causing a lot of head shaking amongst republicans on capitol hill who are dealing with these white house officials
trying to get things done for the country and know not just the staff but the president himself are deeply distracted by what's going on. >> and also even just donald trump jr.'s changing statements, conflicting reports. i mean, this white house has a real problem with its relationship with the truth. and it's becoming unnerving to people. >> well, and this is what -- this is really what the lead "the wall street journal" editorial says, thus in retrospect the podesta and dnc committee hacks did less to damage u.s. democracy than trump presidency. the person who should be the maddest about the russian hacks is mr. trump. but instead they call it keystone cops collusion inside the white house. >> kaci hunt, what are you hearing on capitol hill? are republicans publicly speaking about this in any way?
>> well, look, i think what mark was talking about the perceptions behind the scenes, what they're saying behind the scenes, is reflected in what they are or aren't saying publicly. it's a very tough question to try to answer, i think, for a lot of these republicans. a lot of them either didn't know what to say, struggled to respond to questions or simply said, look, we think there's another shoe that's going to drop. take a look. >> oh, as i've said many times in the past, there's another shoe that will drop and there will be other shoes that will drop. >> there's an e-mail to him from somebody in russia suggesting that the russian government wants to help, then that's problematic. and here's the question, why would they send the trump campaign to a lady who knew nothing? so i want to know about that too. >> you were briefed on the intelligence reports surrounding russian meddling back in the fall before the election, and there was a decision not to put that out in public. now there are e-mails that show
that donald trump jr. was aware there may have been damaging information from the russian government. do you regret your course of action? >> what i have a lot of confidence in is the intelligence committee handling this whole investigation. senator burr and senator warren have ball control and we'll hear from them later. >> it's worth keeping in mind the absolute disconnect between the obsession of the washington media and where the american people are. >> you're not concerned about possible collusion or coordination with russian officials and trump officials? the russians interfered with the election. and the intelligence community said -- >> you're being very persistent, and i suppose that's your job. >> is russia an enemy of the united states? >> russia is a significant adversary. putin is a kgb thug -- >> do you think trump is treating them that way? >> i think that we have had eight years of barack obama showing nothing but appeasement towards russia. i mean, part of the -- >> president trump is not
appeasing russia? >> actually, if you look on substance, the obama administration began with hillary clinton bringing a big red reset button to russia. >> so i'll just kind of leave it there. i also asked ted cruz, hey, there's this sanctions bill that you voted for against russia that the president is now trying to water down in congress. i didn't really get an answer to that question either. >> that's incredible. >> no, it really -- that is a -- what a disappointing performance. and those are the sort of reforms -- >> not you, kasie. >> thank you for clarifying that. >> those performances, and mike, you've seen it, that come up in the future. ted cruz obviously is going to want to run for president again. those are the sort of performances where you were kowtowing to somebody in the white house because they're in power at that moment. and pretending like he's -- that nothing's going on here.
and pointing to barack obama because donald trump is doing what he's doing with vladimir putin? >> well, i mean, senator cruz appears to have the same obsession that the president does with barack obama. they're obsessed with barack obama and eight years of democratic rule under barack obama. he did pull out one small thread of fact and truth. and it is that a lot of people are not interested in this russia story. >> right. >> because they're concerned about their health care policies and health care costs. they're concerned about the fact that the moguls get on tv and talk about the flourishing economy and yet a lot of people don't feel the economy is really flourishing. >> right. >> they're still living paycheck to paycheck. but the irony of all of this, one of the ironies, one of the many ironies of all this with an administration that has difficulty dealing with fact and with truth is that, you know, if you look at this and compare it to watergate, in the spring and
summer of 1973, only about 25% to 30% of the population thought it was an important story. >> right. >> and today it's probably even less on an average person's basis with regard to this story and yet watergate turned into something. >> well, you know, we were upset in our household because the watergate hearings preempted everything. at that time only three or four channels. so we were very angry. sure, it was commercial, probably cartoons at the time, but, no, people didn't focus at the time. and, you know, we were focused on my parents were focused on paying the bills. >> right. >> how we were doing in school. like you said, health care, those are the things people are focused on right now and understandably. but ted cruz is paid to worry about more. >> yeah. >> reporters are paid to dig in deeper, to see if laws were
broken. and they're supposed to do it so they can warn their constituents. let their constituents warn about what they need to be worried about. they need to be worried about their health care. >> so to add to mike's point and also to republicans in congress an ability to decipher between right and wrong despite all the russia stories, the gallup polls tracker has found trump's approval rating among republicans steady since february at 85%. and late last month another poll found 73% of republicans say there is nothing wrong with trump's dealings with russia and putin. 15% believe something unethical but not illegal. just 4% thought something illegal had occurred. so why do republican voters not care about the russian -- >> well, there've been other polls out there -- >> why should they? >> there have been other polls out there show his support among republicans actually going down.
>> but still -- >> in the 70s. but again, it's the responsibility of people like ted cruz, it's the responsibility of other republicans that look and see if something improper happened and to actually lead. and not to just cover up for a president and for an administration that's obviously doing things that are improper. i mean, that ted cruz is unrecognizable from the ted cruz that ran against donald trump. you go back and look at all the things he said about donald trump. i mean, donald trump accused his father of assassinating jfk. and he is sitting there kowtowing to donald trump like donald trump is kowtowing to vladimir putin. and to pretend as a republican and as a self-described conservative that our relationship with russia is not skewed right now because donald trump?
that's disgusting. >> but he is one of the few who's doing this. most republicans are either very quiet or pushing back like we saw tre gowdy do. i think as you've said before, within the 85% it's been shifting. if you ask how many people strongly support the president versus sort of support the president, he actually has lost some support in there. >> the one thing i will say, willie, i have heard from most members of congress when they go back to town hall meetings, people are talking about health care, they're talking about jobs, they're talking about the economy. they are not talking about the russia story. >> and i get that. and i picked that up when i travel too, but the point you made is the right one which is that ted cruz's job is to care about it. we shouldn't live in such a partisan environment that you cannot stand in front of a microphone and say independent of donald trump or anyone else, yes, i am concerned that a foreign government tried to put its thumb on the scale of our democratic process. you have to be able to say that
outloud when the intelligence agencies have all come out and said that. donald trump can say i have nothing to do with it but yes, i'm concerned, because i have news for people who don't care about this and are deflecting from it. next time russia will be coming after your guy. put on the scale for the other person and you're not going to like it then. it ought to concern everybody, especially a united states senator. >> and unless ted cruz wants to constituents, he's just not smart enough to do two things at one time, that he's just not smart enough to worry about health care and worry about american sovereignty. maybe he's not. i don't know. i always heard he was a pretty smart guy. but perhaps he has a confession he wants to make to the people of texas he can't do two things at once. if that's the case, fine, i'll accept that. but i have a feeling he is smart enough to actually worry about america's sovereignty, worry about like republicans always have worry about russia and the menacing bear. remember the 1980 ronald reagan? ronald reagan would roll over in
his grave if he heard what ted cruz just said there. >> joe, any competent political professional, whether working in the white house or working in the senate campaign for ted cruz or anybody else has got to live with the horrendous reality of what is happened here. and what has happened here is the facts are russia did not cause hillary clinton not to go to wisconsin. the russians did not cause hillary clinton to ignore michigan. the russians did not cause hillary clinton to approach the country with very little message and very little meaning to her campaign. >> and can i just say the russians didn't make hillary clinton the worst presidential candidate in modern american history? >> yeah. >> let's just get this out there. donald trump did not win because donald trump is a great candidate. >> right. >> he won because hillary clinton was the least effective political candidate for president in modern american history. >> but, again, if you're a professional -- so you know all
of that about hillary clinton, you know what the country did, you know what the vote was. but you also know that donald trump has been going around this country and especially the east coast of this country for 30 years carrying baggage made in moscow. >> yeah. >> he's been conflicted with russians for 30 years on a business level. maybe more. steve would know more about that than i do. real estate stuff and everything like that. so you know all that, you know all of the whispers and rumors that occurred during the campaign. why didn't they at halftime of the super bowl hold a russian press conference and dump everything out? >> well, that's what trey gowdy's talking about right now. but mika, also, it's not even silent. both of donald trump's sons have admitted that most of their cash, at least don jr. admitted that most of the trump money's cash has come from russia. and eric jr. i guess in that golf article talked about how russians love investing in golf courses.
>> they've admitted a lot more at this point. sorry, we've got a guest here, a member of the house permanent select committee on intelligence. democratic congressman eric swalwell of california. thank you very much for being on the show this morning. >> thank you, mika. good morning, gang. >> we have a lot of investigations going on, and a lot will be bourn out later, but from donald trump jr., the news with him, what do you think is the most damaging or concerning revelation? >> his own words he acknowledged and validated the e-mails in the meetings. and so when you go through the who, what, when, where and why, who is the most senior principles of the campaign, what, they're receiving information that's damaging to hillary clinton, that would have been hacked, where, at trump tower, a floor below where the president was sitting. when, just before russia released the e-mails just before the convention just before carter page travels over to moscow. and why, to cheat foreign
election to help his dad. i mean, it's damaging at every level. it actually reminds me when you go to the eye doctor for a vision test and they show you a lens that either makes the picture clearer or blurrier. and each piece of evidence here makes the picture clearer. it looks like they were working with the russians. >> mark halperin. >> on the senate side appears to be a fair amount of confidence on the democratic colleagues that senate republicans are now committed to get to the bottom of all this. do you have the same level of confidence in the house republicans and committee running this investigation? >> yes. mike conaway has steered us back in the right course. we are interviewing witnesses as we go through this week. and we've done so in the past weeks. and so obviously there are new individuals based on what we're learning who we want to bring in. as long as we show progress and we're independent and have credibility, i think that's a good thing. >> kasie hunt. >> congressman swalwell, there have been some questions here about what is coming out into the public domain is already part of the body of knowledge
that congressional investigators or bob mueller, the special prosecutor, have available to them. i'm not asking you to reveal classified information, but can you give us a sense of how much new you are learning every day from the news and how much you have to bite your tongue to not tell us additional things that the committees already know? >> yeah, also makes it hard for me at home when my wife says, wait, did you already know that? so as we receive this information, the way i see it is to me and to many people it's not shocking, it's not bizarre, it fits the picture. shocking and bizarre would have been if they were meeting with australians. but they were meeting with russians who they had personal, political and financial relationships with. so, again, it fits the picture of all of the other evidence that we put forward. most of it in the publicly available intelligence community report. >> congressman, as a member of the house intelligence committee, i assume you have a
certain level of clearance to listen and hear and sit in on some of the hearings you sit in. so if you were to sit in on a meeting with someone who came in from russia, an attorney who came in from russia and you sat in a room and listened and supposedly they had allegedly some information that would effect the american political system and you chose not to share this information or report this meeting to other people, members of the committee, whatever, what would happen to your security clearance? >> i would very likely, i bet, be removed from the committee for having an undisclosed meeting with a foreign national. again, when you go through the spectrum of foreign nationals, there are those who are allies like really close allies like the brits, like the canadians. and then there are those who are just not our friend. and when you receive something from russia, you are in the area of taking information from someone who's not our friend. i think most people whether you have a background in politics or a background in business know that and would have passed this
along to the fbi as was done back in during the bush/gore debate, if you remember. the gore team was given background information, illegally obtained, about candidate bush, and they passed that along to the fbi. that's what reasonable people do. >> congressman, it's willie geist. i want to run past you the two defenses given last night by donald trump jr. of taking this meeting and see if they compel you in any way or at least what you think about it. the first one was, we were naive. we're new to politics, we've never done this before. i thought this was part of the research process. i wanted to susz out some of these theories he'd heard online and about other information heard on clinton. number two was, it was a nothing meeting, it wasn't even worth reporting, wasn't even worth telling my father about the candidate at the time because we walked in it was advertised as some big intel meeting about hillary clinton and it didn't happen. it was more about adoption than anything else. what do you make of each of those argument sns. >> ignorance is not a defense,
especially for a high level executive like donald trump jr. look, you're playing in the majors now. you're running for president of the united states. the pitches come faster, the strike zone is a little bit different. and so you can't, you know, plead that you didn't know what you were getting into. also as far as, you know, the meeting was not significant, this person came with an interpreter, i think all of us if we think back over the last year you can think of the number of meetings you had with somebody who brought an interpreter to the meeting. also, russia became a very hot issue over the course of the next few months. they knew it was a big deal and the president and others on his team consistently said never met with russians, never had collusion. they said that refrain over and over and over again. and all the while this meeting had taken place and was not disclosed. >> mark halperin, i want to ask you quickly, has it sunk into republicans, or do they just keep moving forward? has it sunk into republicans on the hill that they have been
lied to by the trump administration, by members of the trump administration over and over and over and over and over again about never meeting with the russians, never during the campaign? >> they have become the best compartmentalizers since bill clinton in holding that thought in their head and feeling it this week as much as i've heard them express it and yet still grinding through the legislative process and having lots of interactions with the administration trying to move the agenda forward. but the president's behavior on health care and all of this russia stuff has left the relationships largely in a very tenuous position, even amongst their biggest defenders. >> what's at stake the most relationship on the hill, what is his state, what's the relationship with mitch mcconnell? what is mitch mcconnell's view from what you can report on behind the scenes? what have you heard mitch mcconnell's view of donald trump is? >> it's funny because one of the
president's tweets this morning was a tweet supportive of mitch mcconnell. but mcconnell wants to get stuff done. and he and paul ryan although unlike each other in some ways are as i understand it both compartmentalizing fully. they can talk and sometimes do talk privately shaking their head, chapter and verse particularly on the russia stuff and the white house's lack of smooth operations in dealing with these issues, but at the same time having lots of interactions with the white house in trying to figure out how to solve health care, the debt ceiling, the budget, defense authorization. there's just too much to do. and, again, you can call it cynical or twists and turns to come with this republican-only language. >> kasie hunt, thank you. and member of the house intel