tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC July 13, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT
at the same time, once they answer questions, i think they're going to answer some very difficult questions. president trump is going to get pressed on that meeting we learned about between his eldest son donald trump jr. and that russian lawyer. >> thank you both. continuing coverage here of the president's visit to paris, france, here on msnbc. i'm francis rivera. >> the trump family defends. >> the president did not attend the meeting. >> new questions on where the president found bout russian government support. >> i am going to give a major speech on probably monday of next week. >> plus, what donald junior is leaving out. >> as i recall, it was all this e-mail coordination. >> was there a phone call between e-mails. >> then the republican chance to repeal obamacare could be slipping away.
>> he has to pull it off. mitch has to pull it off. >> in the wake of the trump e-mails, steve schmidt on what it would take for the republicans to abandon the president. >> i could shoot somebody on the middle of fifth avenue and i wouldn't lose any voters. >> good evening. despite claiming to have no involvement last summer, and no knowledge of said meeting until the it became public in recent days, the president of the united states now appears to have played a key role in efforts by the white house to cover up that meeting. now amid continued fallout over the e-mails yesterday, showing he was eager to accept russian government aid, investigators are taking another look at potential evidence collected as far back as 2015 according to the "wall street journal."
minutes ago the president boarded air force one en route to france where he'll meet tomorrow with french president emmanuel macron. the last time the president was on air force one was a few days ago. it was at the g-20 where he held his first face to face meeting with president putin. during that trip the president was involved in producing the false statement given to the "new york times" about the previously held meeting last summer. a small cadre of president's advisers huddled in a cabin helping to craft a statement for the president's eldest son explaining why he met last summer with a lawyer connected to the russian government. ultimately, the times reports, the president himself signed off on the statement from donald trump jr. that statement which characterized the meeting with primary about adoption and was released before the incriminating e-mails came out, it turned out to be aggressively dishonest at the very best.
we now know from the e-mails that donald trump jr. released yesterday that trump jr. took the meeting after receiving an offer reportedly from the russians government on some documents is that dpogs that would incriminate. trump's brother-in-law and paul manafort were in that meeting which took place the trump tower one floor below candidate's office on. a day when the candidate was in the building. the president's son denies his father knew anything about it. >> do you tell your father anything about this? >> it was such a nothing. there was nothing to tell. i wouldn't have even remembered it until you start scouring through this. it was a wasted 20 minutes which was a shame. >> the president responded to his son's tv appearance in a tweet this morning. my son donald did a good job last night.
he was open, transparent, innocent, this is greatest witch hunt in political history. sad. today the president defended his son and insisted he was personally in the gark his son's meeting last summer. no, i didn't know until a couple days ago when i heard about this. i think many people would have held that meeting. the e-mails released yesterday races ad new round of questions about what the president knew and who his wraids in contact with, when. even causing they will to reexamine the material. u.s. intelligence agencies, starting in the spring of 2015, detected conversations in which russian government officials discussed associates of donald trump several months before he declared a candidacy for president. the conversations were confusing, the journal reports. wasn't clear which were being discussed and investigators didn't know what to make of it. now in light of e-mails tuesday, investigators are going back to
the early reports to see if they can understand them better. the e-mails have also raised new questions about a little noticed speech he then candidate donald trump gave last year on june 7th. earlier that day at 5:16 p.m., donald trump sent an e-mail confirming the time and date for the russian lawyer to collect dirt on his father's point. almost exactly four hours later, his father made the following announcement. >> 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 will find it very informative and very, very interesting. >> i'm joined now by sheldon whitehouse. do you believe the president that he had no knowledge of the meeting or the e-mail or anything like that in. >> it is hard to tell. when you consider how close this family is, and when you consider how excited donald junior was
about this, i love it. we have to get this out there. maybe later this summer. when you consider the extraordinary number of telltales that were dropped into the e-mail chain about russian interference, you know, my gosh. it's hard to believe that that didn't cross over at some point to a conversation. but we don't know that. it just seems so improbable. >> if i interviewed you a week ago, and i said to you, senator, how likely do you think there is an e-mail from a purported russian intermediary offering russian government help. what would you have put the odds of that e-mail existing a week ago? >> that e-mail is so flagrantly incriminating, it almost looks like set-up. >> so when i first saw it, i looked at and i i said this can't be so.
then i realized it was donald trump jr. who had released it and authentic indicated it. so it is astonishing to think that any american citizen would read an e-mail that says, this is part of russia's effort to help your father get elected, and think that there's nothing dangerous in that. the average american, i think their instinct would be, you go to the fbi with that. >> the average american. you use that phrase and i've heard, there's been a variety of defense that's have been offered in the last 48 hours. one of them is, people don't care about this. this is a beltway thing. i saw ted cruz saying, this is just you reporters staking out capitol hill. you're the only ones who care. do you think that's true? >> i don't think that's true at all. the key audience is not what somebody inside or outside the beltway thinks, it is whether this was a violation of law or
part of a larger conspiracy to violate the law. and bob mueller's team is what will look into it. and the law doesn't care very much whether it is reporters or people inside the beltway or people outside beltway who are paying attention. if there's a legal adviser, then you're dealing with things like, indictments and the house potentially beginning impeachment proceedings and people having to start talking under oath. instead of talking out into the air waves where they lie as easily as they breathe. >> do you feel the disclosure of yesterday's e-mail adds urgency from a time line perspective? everyone says, there's bob mueller. anyone who is watching this. we don't want conjecture. we just want the facts. at the same time, the fact we
didn't know that e-mail existed, does it feel like there's added urgency to get to the bottom of it at a pretty quick rate? >> well, i think it is important that the investigations on this and particularly bob mueller's investigation be adequately staffed and moving fast. because there's such a broad array of evidence to look at. and there's such a lot to digest and take apart and find links among, that you could really drag this out for a long time if you didn't have the resources to pull the whole picture together. any investigation like this starts small and it expands, as you look more and more at the evidence. then when you're satisfied you have a good picture of the evidence, then you narrow it down on your targets. and you want to get past narrowing point and i don't think they're there yet. there's a lot out there. >> the former u.s. attorney sheldon whitehouse. thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you.
>> joining me now, robert pittinger, do you think it is a bad idea to take a meeting with someone who offers aid from a foreign government in bringing down your political adversary? >> i think, you know, what materially illegal is there about that, i don't know. i'm not a lawyer. >> do you think it is bad? like if someone you were advising said to you, i just got an e-mail from an adversarial government that says they have dirt on my point. should i go to the meeting? >> i'll listen to anybody for whatever they have to say. but at the end of the day, you wade through the facts. >> would you take a meeting, let me ask you. you would take a meeting, tlob what anyone would say. an agent of the venezuelan government to give you opposition research on an point? would you do that? >> again, you're coming one some conjecture here of things. these are hypothetical things.
>> i'll sorry. you just said, you think it is okay -- >> i would listen to people and what they had to say. i want to let you know that i respect what you just said a minute ago. you said that all this has been a lot of speculation and conjecture. and let's get down to the facts. we've been hearing speculation and conjecture for the last six months. issue after issue after issue. this has been trial by democrat. trial by media. there's an obsession of trying on find something kflt we get something on this guy trump to nail him. we just keep looking. so i think at the end of the day, there hasn't been anything shows any collusion. >> i want to be clear about what is speculation and what is fact. do you agree that donald trump jr. published e-mails yesterday that he received from a reported intermediary for -- >> i commend him for doing that. >> that's not speculation. those e-mails exist, correct? >> absolutely. very straightforward.
and they offered an offer to collude with the russian government to -- >> that's your interpretation. >> this is obviously very high level sensitive information, and it is, i'm quoting here, part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump. do you agree that's what that e-mail says, right? >> i'm not getting into what is a material fact relative to aiding and abetting, the takedown. i think you want to be a prosecutor right now. great. go back to law school and be a prosecutor. we shouldn't have trial by media. >> i agree with you. >> that's why we have mr. mueller. that's why i commend president trump for the nomination he has of chris are wray. this man is outstanding. he will get to the facts. >> i agree entirely. >> chris rey will help get to the bottom of it. >> let's agree on this. you and i both, anyone in the s of this issue after issue, conjecture and
speculation. >> particularly if it is exculpatory. from your perspective firgtss turns out this is a witch hunt. we have something we haven't had in a long time. concrete facts. the chain of what happened are real things that happened in the world that aren't speculation. i'm asking you as a human being, a politician, do you think it is okay what the campaign did when offered this? is that an okay thing that you approve of? you would advise a friend to do? >> is it illegal? was it a material reality that what they did was wrong? it was illegal? we'll get to the facts on that. i'm not an attorney. i think you can take information from anyone. i think -- >> so you think it was okay. i'm asking for your opinion. i'm just asking, like it's okay to do that.
>> you can -- i hear information from people all the time on the many things. and i think you need to understand in a campaign, i've been in many campaigns, particularly in a national campaign. donald trump probably had 25 meetings a day. you run through a lot of people during course of the day. >> i get it. a lot of hangers on and people who come through your door. i know that first hand. >> when you get the son of donald trump's attention. i've got something for you. >> have you personally ever met with someone who represented themselves as a foreign agent to give you dirt about a political point? >> never have. no. >> i appreciate you being here. >> good being here too. thank you. >> i'm joined by ted lu from california. it strikes me, is this an okay thing to do is something that people would have had a clear answer four days ago.
>> not only is it an okay thing to do. it is a violation of federal law. donald trump jr. clearly violated the federal election campaign act by conspiring to solicit something of value from a foreign national. as a foreign national i can tell you that he took an app. not only did he write an e-mail back saying i love it. getting the dirt on hillary clinton. he also sat in on a meeting that more than completes the crime of conspiracy. >> i want to play devil's advocate here. there was six months in this nation's history when extremely literal readings of statutes was being used to construe criminality by hillary clinton. you can make an argument for it. it seems very few prosecutions would be brought on the facts that we know now. isn't that true?
>> that's not true. let's say the someone e-mails you and says i have a bag of cocaine. and you e-mail back and say i love it. you show up at that meeting. if the bag of cocaine turns out to be sugar, you still committed conspiracy and you will be prosecuted. >> so you actually think, and i talked on lawyers on both sides of this. 24 hours. you think that it is, of what revealed yesterday is prosecutable. >> absolutely. congress went to great lengths to put in a prohibition against accepting or soliciteding anything of value from a foreign national or the a foreign government. bends foreign influence can be very corrupting. that's straight up in the law. this is a straight up violation. >> this sort of goes back to both interviews saying we need to get to the bottom of it.
we want the facts and not trial by media. everyone is accorded a certain degree of innocence. and the discussion about how long this takes. what is your expectation about what happens next given how remarkable the last 48 hours have been? >> these e-mails are facts. they've been authentic ated by donald trump jr. there would be a grand jury and he would be indicted and then a jury can decide if he should be found guilty. >> do you think that it is that black and white? i've talked on people who say, i don't know. i don't know if there's a case here. you think that. >> absolutely. this is right there in the e-mails. there's an open question about whether a sitting president can be indicted but there's no question at all about whether his son can be indicted. >> people went to jail well before the president was impeached.
there's to protection for people in the president's orbit is what you're saying. >> that's correct. if this meeting wasn't a big deal, why would the president himself, as you noted earlier in the show, to go great lengths to cover it up and help his son put out a false and misleading statement when this "new york times" story first appeared? >> thank you for your time tonight. coming up, is donald trump jr. still withholding information with the meeting with the russian lawyer? we noticed something odd in his e-mail thread that hasn't gotten much attention. did donald trump jr. speak with anyone in moscow? have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief. tylenol®
we now know that donald trump jr. received a series of e-mails last june in which he was offered unspecified dirt on hillary clinton. dirt he was told would come from the russian government. trump junior admits taking a meeting with what was described in those e-mails as russian government attorney in order to get that dirt.
he maintains, however, he was offered nothing of value. last night on fox news, sean hannity asked trump junior if before the meeting he had been be given any indication as to what the information with hillary clinton might be. and listen carefully to his answer. >> at any point were you told either in phone conversation or otherwise, what they might tell you? what goldstone seemed to be implying? >> as i recall, it was all this e-mail coordination. let's try to set up a meeting and see what happens and that it would be interesting information. in the end, wasn't about that at all. >> he said no, as i recall, it was all basically this e-mail coordination. >> basically. someone saying they had information to provide. and the meeting which he said was a dud. but nbc news investigative reporter noticed something interest. a careful reading seems to suggest that don junior in fact did have a conversation on the phone before the meeting with
the person in moscow offering information despite claiming he had no such contact. just last night on camera. the e-mails were between don junior and his aquabltance ron goldstone. now goldstone references his source, that's the pop singer. at 12:40 he wrote, hi, don, let me know when you are free to talk with emin by phone about this hillary info. you had mentioned earlier this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day. he says, could we speak now? goldstone responds, let me track him down in moscow. what number he could call? one minute later mirgs cell. >> okay. he's on stage. that's the guy at the center of thought. he's stage in moscow but should be off in 20 minutes so i'm sure can call. and then nearly an hour passes. and don junior writes, rob,
thanks for the help. so what happened during that hour? it appears there was a phone call. did that phone call take place? that thanks for the help an hour after suggesting the call might have. he asked that i suggest a meeting with you and the russian government attorney who is flying over from moscow this thursday. i believe you are aware of the meeting. so wondered if 3:00 p.m. or later on thursday works for you? i believe you are aware of the meeting. that seems to be a reference to them having a form of communication. perhaps a phone call. making don junior aware of the meeting. later he mentions for the first time the other participant he plans to bring. it will likely be paul manafort, campaign boss, my brother-in-law and me.
the former u.s. attorney from michigan, professor of law at the university have michigan. you noticed this. it sure does look like a phone call happened. it sure looks like it. >> it sure does. it is a logical influence. and why it is important is because rob goldstone is not the man with the connections to the kremlin. emin and his father are the guys close to the kremlin. and this could explain a few things. one, the day after this arrangement, this phone call may have taken place, don junior made a speech where he promised to make some announcement about hillary clinton and her dealings. and of course, he never did that. but he was intimating that he had some dirt on hillary clinton. the other issue is there's a huge disconnect between the e-mail that very explicitly
promises incriminal nighting information on hillary clinton and the explanation of how this meeting actually played out with the lawyer who was talking about the adoption and donald trump are jr. saying i didn't really get anything. there is no real explanation for that disconnect. maybe this phone call explains it. >> barbara, you were a federal prosecutor. what would you want to see? >> all we really have is one little nugget about this whole scenario. so what you want to do is get as much information as you can around it to see what else happened. so number one, getting the telephone records of donald trump jr. might be one way to confirm whether there were additional phone calls. you get get phone calls after the fact but you can determine whether they occurred. i would want to talk to rob
goldstone as well. now, he of course is a british national so you can't just use your subpoena to pull him in. but we do have treat business the british government. so an interview could be arranged. so i would want to find out as much as i can. i want to find out about what happened afterwards. were there any subsequent e-mails? i would be using a search warrant to try to get the content of the e-mails between donald trump, jared kushner, goldstone, all of these players. >> to barbara's point about what happened after, that's the story that we're getting which seems a little unresolved. so let's say, if everything that donald junior is saying is true. it is weird and disappointing and doesn't involved what he thought. do you just let it go? do you say what the heck was that? you wasted my time. you made me look bad in front of paul manafort. there's a lot you can imagine would happen after that other
than a shrug. >> there are sole unanswered questions. when he gets e-mail about the effort to help your father. he doesn't say what effort? so he is acting like he understands there is such effort. then again this disconnect between had very explicit promise of help and what they're saying was a nothing burger. >> did you get that same line? a lot of people are talking about this. it says the russian effort to help her father. it is not like here's some crazy bombshell news, bruh. it is going to help your dad get elected. >> when you think about what mueller's mission is, is a quest for the truth. although people want to see accountability for anyone who has committed crimes here. the really bigger quest for truth that we want is what was the russian government up to in
this counter intelligence investigation? what were they doing? what was their game? and that quest for truth is what robert mueller will want to know. >> and i can't help but note the irony, we went through an entire campaign. we've read a opportunity of e-mails that the secretary turned over to the state department. we read criminal records. this is first time that we've read an e-mail from the trump campaign on the inside. it does make you wonder what else is in those inboxes. >> in the absence of hard facts, what we've gotten is speculation from current government officials. they say this is right out of russian play book.
they believe there is a dangle. they believe it is russian tense trying on see how the trump team would respond to an offer of assistance. wasn't much of an offer but it showed they were eager for more. >> thank you for making time. coming up, as the trump e-mail controversy grows, new stinls repeal and replace effort may be slipping away.
>> on the christian broadcasting network, his firster time in two months, he put the effort to pass
through the senate squarely on mitch mcconnell's shoulders. that's not a bad place to put it. he has done a lot for this president dating back to the campaign when he stood in the way of an obama administration effort to go public with russian efforts to interfere in the election. according to the post, wary of being seen to influence the election, sought bipartisan support from congressional leaders. none resisted more adamantly than mcconnell himself who voiced skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the claims. one year later, donald trump is president and mcconnell is facing the biggest test of his political career.
after promising eight years to repeal obamacare, they face massive efforts to follow through. events today suggest his chance may be slipping away. the latest on the health care fight right after this break. from the first moment you met it was love at first touch and all you wanted to do was surround them in comfort and protection that's why only pampers swaddlers is the #1 choice of hospitals to wrap your baby in blanket-like softness and premium protection mom: "oh hi baby" so all they feel is love wishing you love, sleep and play. pampers
remains to be seen. one proposal you understand consideration by texas senator ted cruz would allow the sale of sub prime insurance with far more limited coverage. now health insurers of all people are tearing into that idea saying the plan would, quote, destable ties individual market and increase costs for those with pre-existing conditions. crucially, even a revised bill supported by cruz and his friends senator mike lee, might still not get mcconnell the votes he needs. remember, everybody only afford two rejections. among others, all worry about people losing coverage under a senate bill. lisa murkowski from alaska purportedly tore into the medicaid cuts today. and conservatives like rand paul say it doesn't do enough to repeal obamacare. today paul announced he is a no vote.
>> we promised the american voters that we would repeal obamacare. when you're keeping half the taxes, most of the regulations and creating a brand new insurance bailout super fund, that to most people doesn't look line repeal. i will vote against the motion to proceed. >> joining me now, the chief washington correspondent. you've been covering this closely. you've covered other efforts before. where does this stand right now? >> a good place if you're mitch mcconnell. he says he will unveil this next draft tomorrow and try to take it to the floor. it is unclear whether he will take it to the floor to fail. even leadership concedes they do not have 50 votes. the people last week when they were hoping were saying, i don't think i like it. they've come back and said i really don't like it. >> i have noticed, nothing is do not until it's done and people change and mitch mcconnell is very good at his job. i have noticed the tenor of the
comments about it. the skepticism before the break and after, that they have grown more critical. not less. the folks before the break said, i have reservations and in its current form, you're hearing much stronger language. >> there seem to be many more firm nos. they could make some changes but the change they seem to be making are losing votes rather than gaining them. they want to perhaps have a little more money, slower cuts than medicaid. that's what we have seen. rand paul turned him into an absolute no. the moderates worried about the medicaid cuts seem to be just as worried as they were even if there's money to slow them down a little bit. it doesn't seem to be that senator mcconnell has found the magic bullet that can get everybody on board. >> to be clear, there's been all this interest in the cruz, that it would inaugurate a death spiral in the individual
markets. >> plus they would have to go back to what they call medical underwriting. they're happy to stop doing it. the industry doesn't love the affordable care act because they don't think the mandate is strong enough to get healthy people in. the idea of going back to separate insurance markets where they would have to assess the health of certain people and decide how much the charge them isn't something they want to do either. >> it always seemed clear when mike plea and ted cruz raised their concerns, they would get the bone thrown to them. the real problem are those folks who don't like the medicaid cuts. susan collins of maine, capita. and then you've got rand paul. if rand paul is really a hard no, that has the room that room that mcconnell has to negotiate. do you think he is actually a no? >> i do.
i think everybody thought rand paul would be a no from the beginning. the wild card has been ted cruz and mike lee. and there's one more. even if they try to give them the amendment. does it go in the base bill or do they vote on it? they would need 50 votes. it hasn't been voted by the parliamentian yet. there may be a lot of things in this bill that can't make it to the senate florida. >> the pressure has been fascinating to watch. there have been indivisible socialists of manager. different groups move on who have been direct action, sitting in in offices, showing up outside the homes of folks. going to town halls. is that part of what is pressing these folks to a firm no? >> i don't know whether it is having an effect on people who don't like it because it isn't conservative enough.
but it does seem to be affecting the moderates. when susan collins was in maine last week, she said everybody praised her for her opposition. so it reinforced her as a no. even dean heller from nevada was one of the sort of early surprising no's. he said the bill simply hasn't changed. >> you have vp mike pence working in kentucky, meeting in the capitol. coming up, an e-mail sent to donald trump jr. explicitly offering support for the trump campaign doesn't raise concerns among supporters, what would?
m.i.a., holding no public events while his eldest son was left to explain why he met last summer with a lawyer with the russian government who was said to have dirt on hillary clinton. the president released a statement saying my son is a high quality person. the first we saw of him was this image as he was being prayed over by evangelical leaders and that was the first hint of who the president planned to speak with for his first nonfox interview in two months. today donald trump sat down with the christian broadcasting network's pat robertson. an interesting choice with his white house in damage control. cbn has been a friendly outlet for donald trump for many years. one of our all time favorite clips. that's thing two.
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>> who is god to you? what are some of your thoughts on this? you're a smart man, a smart businessman. you've could not tell plated this before. >> i would say god is the ultimate. here we are in the pacific ocean. how did i ever own this? i bought it 15 years ago. i made one of the greatest deals ever with this piece of land. i have no mortgage on it. i will certify and represent to you. and i was able to buy this and make a great deal. that's what i want to do for the country. we have to bring it back. but god is the ultimate. god created this.
one that blat and and clumsy. many people did not think the e-mail like this existed. the e-mail came out that essentially said would you like to collude with the russian government to defeat hillary? donald trump jr. said, love it. no one thought that particular e-mail existed and then there it is. the more shocking thing is that so far, it appears to have changed no one's mind. and there's something that incriminating, if it doesn't change minds, what will. republican strategist steve schmidt on that question, next. how do you become america's #1?
the people, my peesm are so smart. you know what else they say about my people? they say i have the most loyal people. did you ever see that? that i could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody and i wouldn't lose any voters. okay? >> public opinion on the president of the united states has actually been steady and stable in a certain way. president trump started out unpopular. and he has generally gotten less popular. recent poll for example places his approval rating at 41%. that's not his worst standing since he took office. the same poll shows among those who voted for him, mostly republicans, his approval remains solid at 88%. it almost seems like whatever happens in the world, it doesn't affect that basic framework. joining me now, republican strategist steve schmidt. i saw a few folks, i want to start -- we'll start at sort of the level of professional political operatives,
conservative writers and stuff. folks with the national review, charles krauthammer, i saw people responding to the e-mail saying whoa, whoa, whoa, this is messed up. do you think that it's registering more broadly? >> we're going to find out, chris. look, i think that as we approach the six-month mark of trump presidency, the country's never seen anything like it. he's the most unpopular president this early in his term in the history of the country. and the polls range from 35%, 36%, to 41%. and i think it's important to remember, even the day that richard nixon resigned, he was at 29%. i mean, 29% of the country stuck with him. that's just a dynamic feature of american politics. and i do think that a lot of the trump support isn't so much support for the president as it's anti-trump. >> that's right. >> as one commentator described it. and that's a feature that we're increasingly tribal politics.
where people, no matter what is done in the name of your tribe, people are supporting the tribe. but look, i think that there are scores of republicans who are beyond appalled by this. overwhelmingly independents and nonregistered voters, or nondeclared voters. and certainly democrats. and what we know from this is a couple of things. it was an attempt to work with the russian government pat the heart of a presidential campaign with the most senior people. then they lied about it repeatedly from the president and vice president, and everyone on down. they got caught in a lie. they continue to lie today. they lied about it over the weekend. as the lies accumulate, and we go from smoke to fire on the horizon, we'll see where this goes. and as it is fully known to the american people what happened, and as the republicans continue
to languish with their inability to pass anything that resembles a conservative policy agenda, i think the voters will grow weary over time. >> that latter thing i want to talk about, because to me, i'm of the opinion that these next three weeks are essentially make-or-break in a certain way. which is that this obamacare repeal is on an ice edge. basically a 50/50 proposition. if it happens, that changes everything. i think in terms of the calculation of even people on the hill making, that we've got this guy mainly under investigation, maybe colluded with the russians but he can sit there and sign bills and we can get an agenda through. my theory is, the republicans will start to ask themselves what did i sign up for here if it doesn't happen? is that your read on it? >> sure. look, i'm old enough to remember that a prerequisite for passing legislation like this was to try to do everything you can to make an argument, and make it as popular as possible. >> right.
>> politics is sometimes the art of choosing between two bad options. but republicans stay in. what's the result? they reorganized, the sixth of the nation's economy with no idea who it affects and how much it costs, and the support of the american people at 13%. that's a good thing as you move into a midterm election where the incumbent president's party has lost seats, and every single election for the last 118 years in that first midterm except for three. so i think republicans increasingly on this are damned if they do, damned if they don't. but it seems increasingly difficult to see how they put together the necessary votes to do this. and by the way, if you can get the necessary votes, do you really want to take a vote like this on an issue as big as this and pass it with 51 votes, or 50 votes with the tiebreaker by the vice president perhaps?
>> final question. are republican members of congress having the same conversation other people are, after that e-mail gets published? are they in rooms just saying off the record to their staff, like, can you believe this exists? >> look, i think the reaction behind closed doors is one of astonishment. it's the same type of tone you're seeing play out on television. but what you're also seeing is a republican, elected official class, torn between their sense of their political survival and their duty to their oath, to the constitution. i mean, how is it conceivable that any republican member of congress reacts to this by saying no big deal. it's a titanic deal. you've never seen anything like this. this puts the russian government into the heart of the trump campaign. and their insistence that the meeting was a big nothing burger is frankly not credible.
>> steve schmidt thank you. tonight, donald trump takes off for paris leaving behind a world of problems. tonight, he did comment on russia prior to leaving. and on his son's meeting with the russian lawyer. the next man up may be paul man for the as the senate judiciary chairman says they have some questions for former trump campaign chairman. and trump's pick to head the fbi says the russia investigation is no witch hunt. we have all of it tonight as "the eleventh hour" gets under way. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 174 of the trump administration. and the president is airborne