tv Morning Joe MSNBC July 21, 2017 3:00am-6:00am PDT
i mean, it just cannot happen. let's put that aside. if they ever have even discussed that, which i doubt they have. >> that was bob corker, head of the senate foreign relations committee telling us last month he can't imagine president trump would fire bob mueller, the special counsel tasked with investigating russian interference and potential links between the kremlin and the trump campaign. what about actively undermining him? this morning there are multiple reports that president trump and his aides are laying the ground work to allege conflicts of interest in other ways to undercut the russia probe. veteran columnist, we also say veteran -- >> oh. >> mike barnacle. donny deutsche is just donny deutsche. wow.
>> can he -- donny deutsche. >> best dressed is never me when donny is here. author of the book "a world in disarray" richard haas, and columnist for "time magazine eddie glod. senior columnist at usa today heidi, michael schmidt with a bunch of whoppers out this week. he is the co-author of one of those pieces we referenced this morning about the white house looking for leverage on mueller's investigation. president trump eights approval rating is at 36%. the president is said to be laying the ground work to undermine special counsel tasked to investigate any links between the russian government and the trump campaign and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation and any crimes committed in response to the investigation. according to the washington post, president trump has told aides that he was essentially --
especially disturbed after learning that special counsel bob mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns. his lawyers are sending a message with jay saying the scope is going to have to stay within mueller's mandate. if there's drifting, we're going to object. he cited a report in bloomberg based on a single source that says mueller is examining financial transactions between trump, his associates, and russia going back to at least 2004. the washington post reports that trump has asked his advisors about his power to pardon aides, family members, and even himself in connection with the probe according to one source. another said trump's lawyers have been discussing the president's pardoning powers amongst themselves. an advisor said the president has simply expressed curiosity in understanding. you can could google that, mr. president, of his pardoning authority and the limits of mueller's investigation. "this is not in the context of "i can't wait to pardon myself,"
a close advisor said. >> the "new york times" is digging deeper that president trump's lawyers and aides are looking to discredit or even fire special counsel bob mueller and his prosecutors. the effort includes scrutinizing donations to democratic candidates, investigators past clients, and mueller's relationship with james comey, whose firing as fbi director is part of the special counsel's investigation. the president had considered mueller to replace comey as fbi director, and even met with mueller shortly before he was appointed special counsel. in trump's interview with the "new york times" on wednesday, he said, "talk about conflicts. mueller was interviewing for the job. there were many other conflicts that i haven't said, but i will at some point." not clear what that is. white house advisors told the washington post that another potential conflict is an allegation that mueller and trump national golf club in northern virginia had a disbutte over membership fees when mueller resigned as a member in 12011. a spokesperson for mueller said there, in fact, was no dispute.
according to "the times" justice department rules say they can't participate in an investigation if they have a personal relationship with the sunl of the case. however, something like a campaign donation is not included on the list of things that would create a political relationship. and deputy attorney general's office -- the deputy attorney general's order appointing mueller a special counsel allows for a broad mandate out of the russia probe into "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation. on wednesday the deputy attorney general was asked to address some of these issues. >> some of the attorneys that he has hired that several of them have made donations to hillary clinton, to the clinton campaign. does that bother you? does it make you believe that those people have any reason to be questioned in terms of their impartiality in this investigation? >> at the department of justice we judge by results, and so my view about that is we'll see if they do the right thing. >> obviously before we have the
power hitting third baseman of the philadelphia phillies, mike schmidt, here with us. one of the authors of one of these incredible blockbuster pieces. i want to ask you, there's a lot in this piece, but obviously the flashing red light here is the notion that the president is talking about to what extent he has to pardon, his aides, his family members, and potentially himself. tell us more about what your reporting shows about what his attitude is towards that question. he is asking the question with what kind of disposition? >> i think the president clearly understands the seriousness of mueller, and he clearly gets the problem here, which is that an investigation which starts with russia is just going to go in a lot of different directions. what he -- what the white house is trying to do is try and find ways to stop mueller from going beyond that and what can they do? they're researching the lawyers that mueller has hired. they're looking at their backgrounds. they're looking at the cases
that they dealt with. they're looking at whether they ever got, you know, rebuked by courts or anything. just trying to come up with any type of information that they could use to put these to either disqualify some of these lawyers going forward or to put them on the defensive and to create problems for mueller. they are certainly taking an aggressive posture here. when ken star was apointed, there were folks in the clinton world that started demonizing him for political reasons. this seems to feel along those lines and be if not more severe. i think the president wants to be aggressive here. they are going to fight this. instead of saying, look, you know, oh, we'll do everything to cooperate and we'll just kind of leave you alone to do what you are doing, i think the president is really going to go after them. the president's lawyers, i think, certainly some of them, don't want him to do this.
>> what impact are any of the lawyers that he has surrounded himself with having on the president in this regard? >> well, it's our sense that they don't want him to be out there. at least, you know, some of them don't want him to be out there being so aggressive on this issue. they think that it antagonizes mueller. it raises questions about the independence of mueller, and it's a distraction, and it's not helpful. at the same time this is a president that believes he is his best spokesman and has shown the willingness to attack these folks, even his own attorney general. he sees that as his best offense here. at the same time it sort of raises questions about it is process. he is really undermining mueller in ways, certainly in the public's eyes and putting the political lens on it that may
not really be there. >> all right. speaking of raurz and shake-ups. this morning there are shake-ups to the external trump legal team. mark jackson reports that mark kasowitz is no longer leading the counsel. politico and the ap says that he is seen as a michiganing presence in the operation. mark, the spokesman for the outside legal team, tells peter alexander, he has resigned. he started just two months ago, and according to politico, had grown frustrated with the operation and warring factions and lawyers. he was also reportedly concerned about whether he was being told the truth about various matters. one of those people said. heidi here. heidi, what do you hear about how hope always springs eternal that someone someday will be different? it seems like this is how every story about tangoing with trump ends. >> well, it's also in the context of what is happening at
this time. >> i take you back to the beginning of this campaign that all of us have been pushing to get that disclosure, and somehow, you know, the president promised during the course of the campaign that after the audit was over, he would give us those tax returns. of course, he never did. not only did he not give us the tax returns that weren't under audit, we never saw any tax returns that are no longer under audit. this seems to be the trigger point for the president. >> even those closest advisors around him are starting to feel like i would like to know what was it that made him suspicious
that maybe even he isn't being told the truth? >> nicole, i want to jump back to where you started the show. a great interview with corker where he said it was implausible that president trump would ever fire mueller. trump tells us what he is going to do. he shows his hand. he has said there is a red line if you go into my businesses. of course, they're going into his businesses. i want to refer anybody to a spectacular article by greg unger in "the new republic" called trump's laundromat where it lays out the dirty russia money coming in. trump knows he cannot let it go that far. he cannot. he will be destroyed. he will end up possibly in jail. he will fire mueller at some point. you can see. he is teeing it up. that's where this is going. make no mistake about it. donald trump is not going to -- regardless of what the law is or repercussions are and let this investigation go on its own terms in its current way. >> yeah. and i just want to jump in here
because, one, i think only deputy attorney general rod rosenstein can fire mueller, and it's -- mueller isn't the only one who enrages him. in your interview from earlier this week, i made a list of everyone dised in 50 minutes. sessions, mccain, rosenstein, mueller and comey. they're not all the same, obviously. these are distinct men with different profiles, but anyone arguably that's going to run the justice department or be the dag is going to have some commitment to the rule of law, which is going to allow mueller to conduct an investigation. there's nothing outside the scope of the investigation. that seems central to it. >> yeah. i mean, you can clearly see as they do this research and they sort of look into the lawyers, they're also looking not only to put hurdles in mueller's way, but if they have to make the argument to get rid of mueller, how would they do that? would this give them ammunition to do that? they've raised these questions
about hmueller's relationship with comey. there really isn't much of a relationship there. they've said, oh, mueller can't do this because him and comey are best friends and comey did this to get him appointed. well, indeed they have worked together in the past. mueller and comey did. they aren't really that close. they aren't really buddy buddy. there are folks that comey has been very close with over the years that he worked with as a prosecutor or that he took with him to the fbi, but there really isn't a relationship there. they've searsed ized on that as of undermining mueller. there's probably few people in washington as well-respected by both parties as mueller. they're taking on someone who a lot of people like and who a lot of people have respect for, and someone who is really credited with keeping the country safe after 9/11 as the fbi director and is basically keeping the fbi intact as it moves forward and changed its mission towards counterterrorism. >> i want to get to some of the other non-candy striper voices around the table.
nicole just made this point, richard, about the list of people that trump took on in the legal judicial law enforcement establishment. it seems to me he is at war with all the establishment. these institutions that have quasi-independent status. they are political appointments, but they operate independently. last time donald trump went to war with a washington establishment, it was the intelligence establishment. it defendant's exhibit woid not for him. as you look at where we are right now, as these battle lines are being drawn, where do you see this going? >> it's not clear to me. i think it has an internal limit. why do we assume it does? at the end of the day donald trump, like any president, is going to think about self-preservation. i think because he comes outside the political culture i don't think his initial instinct, i don't think what his default position is the preservation of the system. i think it's the preservation of
his presidency. the president preservation of himself, the preservation of his family. i think we have to understand at some point that there's probably going to be a structural tension between what is legal and what is legitimate. >> right. >> and i think it's too narrow a conversation to have around this table and other tables to simply say is what he is doing legal? i think there's going to be a larger conversation about his view of his presidency and what he can do. >> the "wall street journal" editorial board writes about sessions. "the white house said thursday that president trump still has confidence in attorney general jeff sessions, but after the past two days the better question is whether mr. sessions still has confidence in the president." mr. trump needs the ag at this point more than the reverse. working for a president who can be as willful and rash as mr. trump can't be easy, and somed aviesors may find it impossible over time. mr. trump needs people who can protect him and the country from
his worst instincts. if mr. sessions quits, mr. trump might not find anyone else who will take the job. >> we began the show in talking about all of this over the past week or so. we began the show with bob corker talking with nicole. they might have to go to the white house to say, mr. president, you sht just playing with fire. you are on fire. you have to stay away from bob mueller. >> we would hope that would be the case. i think that would be the case, in fact. watching president trump throw jeff sessions under the bus, it makes one wonder why anyone on the hill would align themselves with this guy. in some ways it remunds me of an evil character in one of my son's favorite shows. valdemort. only i must live at the end of
the day, and that's the way he seems to function. it seems to -- if you align yourself with this guy, you might end up, shall we say, not surviving. >> all right. still ahead on "morning joe" an nbsz news exclusive. kier simmons just interviewed foreign russian -- it was invited inside the oval office by president trump last may. kier will join us live with that exclusive interview just ahead. plus, member of the foreign relations committee senator chris coons, kathleen sabilias. first, here's bill karins with a check of the forecast. >> the fire in california exploded again yesterday. it went from 40,000 up to 70,000 acres. unfortunately, now reports of up to 50 structures have been burned. they're still trying to get containment on that braise. how about the fire that was in new jersey yesterday? wharton state forest.
this is near washington township, new jersey. doesn't look like new jersey, does it? that's 1,000 acre blaze. they have that about fully contained at this time. the heat is the problem. if we get these fires, they do form and they do rapidly spread. 78 million people under heat advisories or excessive heat warnings. just as hot today in the central plains as it was yesterday, and even hotter for the mid-atlantic region, the carolinas, all the way up to new york city. also, on top of this, we have a severe weather threat. 27 million people at risk. this is from fargo from north dakota all the way down through minneapolis, rochester, right into the heart of wisconsin. even chicago once again could get hit late tonight. this area has been hit a couple of times this week, so the chance of flash flooding is now in a moderate risk here. the southern portions of wisconsin. along with the wind damage threat, you have to watch out for the high water. today's forecast as we mentioned, as hot as it gets. 103 in st. louis. the mid-atlantic, it looks like d.c. is going to be the hottest on saturday. then final on to sunday we cooled off with thunderstorms in areas of the mid-atlantic, but we're still very hot throughout much of the country.
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office yesterday where he was offered the job. sean spicer has been pulling double duty as press secretary and coms director since may. nicole wallace, i'm going to do one of think maifrt things, which is to make you do like a flashback to your former life before you were a journalist, host, superstar, back when you were white house communications director. just talk about what is rooird to be a successful white house communications director and whether on the basis of your knowledge of anthony scaramucci, he is a good choice for the job? >> in this white house it's a totally different job. we used to sort of operate within the guardrails of rolling out a strategy for a president who was pushing an agenda for which he was trying to build support in congress and among the public. sometimes we came up very short, and oftentimes the communications director manages communications to the president, the government, after an outside event, after an attack, like 9/11. i don't know what this white house needs a communications
director for, and it's no secret, jared kushner and sort of his wing, his faction inside the white house, has been very open about their displeasure with the current skill set of the existing coms folks, and so i'm not surprised that a new name that is not sort of a candidate of reince and bannon's choosing would emerge. i think when you go to look for a president who became leader of the free world who has -- i don't know why you think you would get in the white house and be essential. >> my question for you is mucc. you like him. he is a good guy. what do you think he -- why does he want this job? why would anybody want to be white house communications director if you are a rich guy from new york? he has some dough. what's he thinking? >> you are right there with the president of the united states. that's a big deal. >> what are you doing for this president? forwarding his tweets. retweeting him? >> his problem, the country's
problem, the world's problem is the president is the communications director. he is his own communications director. i mean, that bizarre mike schmidt hall of fame third baseman still with us, i asked you this yesterday, michael. i mean, the idea you, maggie, peter baker from "the times" sitting in the oval office. if you read the entire transcript of the interview -- >> incredible. >> -- it is beyond bizarre. what was your human reaction as -- maybe you didn't get what he was saying assist you sat there during it. i don't know. you tell us. >> the president is harder to follow than i thought he would be. he beitackles a lot of differen things very quickly, and actually as i was sitting here yesterday, there was a whole part where you guys sort of looked at some stuff that he had said about napoleon, and i had forgotten about that entire part
of the interview. >> how could you forget? that is my single favorite passage of the whole thing. >> there were so many different things that went on in the interview. it was -- i guess we were in there for about 50 minutes. he moves incredibly quickly because i think from napoleon we were quickly back on the economy and on to something else, and you have a very difficult time pinning him down and coming back to something. there are so many different interesting threads or things that you are not sure of or whether where they came from or what they mean. as myself, a first-time trump interviewee or interviewing him for the first time, it was an interesting experience in trying to follow him, but also trying to pin him down. we worked really hard on the mueller issue and on the russia investigation as the thing that we focused the most of our efforts and energy on, but we could have sat there for a long time. my guess, and i don't know this, is that the president would have sat with us probably for another two hours if his aides had allowed him.
he seemed to very much once he got going enjoy speaking with us and enjoy trying to allow us to see the world through his eyes. >> heidi, i want to ask you a question. i know scaramucci. let's explain what he does for a living. he runs a fund to funds. when you do that, fund of funds is somebody who basically raises -- takes hedge fund money and kind of distributes it. >> basically he is just going out and raising money. he will walk into a pension fund and go, invest $100 million with me. hey, he is basically a salesman. tiger salesman. that means -- i like him, but that's what he does. he has no skill set. >> lots of salesmen are tigers. >> it's no different. he basically has no skill set in communications, which is like jared kushner, who has no skill set in negotiating in the middle east. he has a guy that's a bright guy. zero skills. what seems, heidi, to be consistent with this president and very often putting people in office who have actually no qualifications for the job. >> which is the great irony of this presidency because if i take you back to the campaign
trail, that was the promise of a president trump. it was that while he may not have any experience whatsoever in government, in policy, or in the military, which is a first for our country as the chief executive, he would hire people around him who do. he would hire the best possible people. what we're seeing here is he is hiring people in his image, instead of the people who have the deepest skill set. in this case, like you said, i am not sure how many it matters because when you look back at the "new york times" interview, it shows that there is no one who is running this train other than he himself. in addition to making a lot of comments that just were off topic and didn't seem to make sense, i wonder if you agree with this, michael? he just kept talking on russia and saying things that must have had his lawyers really, you know, saying please stop. like, you know, he brought up the dossier, and then he also
seemed to -- i thought this was a really interesting point -- to bring up the adoptions issue and confirm that he had discussed adoptions with putin, which is essentially bringing up the magnitski act. seemingly, acknowledging that those officials who met with don jr. were, in fact, acting on the interests of vladimir putin and bringing up the act. each time he does one of these interviews, there's nobody, whether it's anthony scaramucci or anyone else capable of stopping him. >> my sense on the russia stuff is that he looks at it -- this is -- trurp is a person that's been involved in dozens of lawsuits, and he sort of looks at it in that lens in the sense that he -- that it's like he can sort of put pressure on the other side, that he can make their life more difficult. he can throw a lot of resources at them this issue and eventually they'll sort of, you
know, give in and make a deal and they'll move along. that's not how federal investigations work and especially a special counsel. my sense from him is just sort of, like, well, i'll fight this in the press. i'll push as hard as i can on it, and eventually we'll be able to make it go away in the same way that lawsuits that he has dealt with before, you know, how he has approached those. the thing is, though, is that in the federal -- it's just a bigger difference, and you have someone in mueller that just is a totally different animal from anything like that. i think that is where they will run into issues is with running into that system. >> he is hard to follow, that will stick with me all day. >> he is involved in thousands of lawsuits. >> your co-interviewer, one of them, peter baker, joins us at the top of the hour ahead, and ahead this hour, senator john mccain may be fighting cancer, but he is also still very much
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>> even in recovery from surgery and the nountsment that he has been diagnosed with brain cancer, senator john mccain is still making his presence felt in washington. he tweeted yesterday that he greatly appreciates "the outpouring of support -- unfortunately for my sparring partners in congress, i'll be back soon, so stand by!" also yesterday, the arizona senator slammed reports that the president was ending a covert cia program aimed at arming, training, and funding opposition to syrian president bashar al assad. if these reports are true, the administration is playing right into the hands of vladimir putin. making any concession to russia absent a broader strategy for syria is irresponsible and short-sighted. the administration has yet to articulate its vision for syria beyond the defeat of isil let alone a comprehensive approach to the middle east. mccain didn't stop there adding, "six months into this administration, there is still
no new strategy for victory in afghanistan either. it is now mid-july when the administration promised to deliver that strategy to congress, and we are still waiting." richard haas, let's start with syria. a long held under stated policy of arming the rebels in the south of syria has apparently now ended. what does this mean for any strategy going forward? >> well, it's the de facto acknowledgment of bashar al assad's government that's here to stay for the indefinite future. i think, though, the president went farther than he needed torg. it to go. the russians and the iranians made sure of that, but i don't understand why where he unilater unilaterally gave up working with local groups. we're going to liberate territory from isis, and we have some local forces we can work with. why take the pressure off of assad unilaterally? if you are going to move away from these groups, get something for it. the last thing we want to do is
the syrian government to fill spaces that we liberate. i don't understand why we did this on a strategic merit. i think senator mccain has a good point here. >> let's bring into the conversation former nato supreme allied commander, now the dean at tuft university, retired four star navy admiral, chief and security analyst for nbc news. thanks for being with us. >> great being with you. >> are you surprised see the plug pulled so early? >> i want to say on behalf of every navy person out there, we're big fans of senator mccain, who spent a great deal of his time as a navy pilot, and we are all wishing him very
well. at the end of the day we need leverage if we're going to move this situation where we want to go. we've taken away a significant piece of leverage. our strategy ought to be roughly like it was in the balkans 20 years ago, which is to say we have to try and ultimately, i think, look at a partition of syria, but we don't have any leverage at this point. assad is a big winner. russia is a big winner, and iran is a big winner. that's bad news for the united states. >> admiral, i want to ask you. you mentioned russia is a big winner. this comes shortly on the heels of the cease-fire that trump and putin negotiated, announced coming out of the g-20. is it right to be -- to suspect that there might be some kind of linkage here? >> in this world you never know. i'm still waiting to see who the ninth attendee at the meeting was. i'm thinking it might be amelia
earhart the way things are going. i think that what we see happening here is a movement that continues to strengthen putin in three ways. one is at home. he appears very strong. if there's a wink, there's a lot of sand in the eye. we're not doing well on that deal. >> there's a special that's based on your book on hbo. a world in disarray. it examines the past, the present, and the future of american foreign policy. here's a part of the preview clip. ♪ >> the world order has been upended. weak states threaten global stability as easily as strong ones. america's role in determining the future is far from certain.
>> i think there's now a certain loss of respect for the united states. a certain loss of fear. we sit down with the people whose policies have shaped the modern world. >> the west will defend its position and its values. >> and take you to the flash points of a world in disarray. >> what makes tony blair so sure that the west will defend its values? >> we should, but i think increasingly we're not. we just talked about it in syria unilaterally. six months into the administration, we said north korea is a major problem. we don't have a policy. we don't have a policy for dealing with the reemergence of russian geopolitical power in europe. if anything, what's stunning to me -- i really can't think of historical analog or precedent. we are unilaterally abdicating. usually they hole will low out within or somebody replace them. >> why would you want to do that? this is what it would look like. what do you make of the
report -- it was reported in a.p. yesterday that h.r. mcmaster is talking about a lot of disdmfrt and efforts to put things in context, but there's really no context. >> i think what he is representing is something that you call the foreign policy establishment. we shouldn't kid ourselves. mr. putin is not a partner. he is the opposite. he gets up every morning, and he is a spoiler. his entire purpose in his foreign policy is to make russia resident respected and feared. he has the military tool. he has cyber. he really no longer has the energy tool given all that we've done. we're kidding ourselves, and i think what mcmaster is reflecting is the fact that the entire intellectual bias of the administration to work with putin is based on a flawed premise. >> stay with that. we are about this. we were saying that there were some adults in the room that would impact foreign policy. what do we make of mcmaster, mattis, and the folks that are supposedly the best foreign policy team that he could
possibly assemble? what do we make of that? >> actually it's a great question. it ties into the previous conversation about who is going to be the communications person for this president. the president is his own foreign policy person. he wills an incredibly loose system. i describe it in a recent article about adhocracy. there's nothing organized about it. he has a mindset, which others all the advice, which is at the cost of american leadership far outweighing the benefits. i think it's dead wrong. i think history suggests the opposite. we will pay an enormous price for it, but this is the president's going imposition. >> listening to this conversation and paying attention, somewhat attention, to events of the past several months, under this administration, are we not, in effect, building a freeway from take rain right into damascus? i mean, isn't syria going to end up an reignian state? >> absolutely.
by the way, there's an exit ramp heading down to yemen as well, mike. all across the near mooers, we're seeing a rise of iran as an imperial power, and we shouldn't be surprised. now, i'm greek-american, so i worry about the persian threat, but the iranians are really manifesting their own imperial sense of the region, and they're succeeding. it's baghdad. it's definitely damascus. it's probably going to bleed into beirut. it's certainly yemen. everywhere there's shia that have influence, it's expanding under iran. back to the foreign policy team. you got to remember it's penthouse and ghettos at the department of defense. it's a penthouse with jim mattis. over at state it's dive kind of a ghetto with rex tillerson. money is bleeding away. the morale is really down. it's extremely uneven. we don't have a strategy, as richard points out. we're really not where we should be in foreign policy right now. >> scary.
admiral james, i'm greek too. i knew i liked you. again, the vice special report based on richard's book debuts on hbo tonight. that's so big-time. congratulations. tonight at 10:00 p.m. up next, remember when john kerry was hammered for saying -- i remember this -- he voted for something before he voted against it. president trump's meandering approach to health care puts that inconsistency to shame, to say the least. we have the definitive match-up next on "morning joe."
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>> we were partying like crazy because it was the six-month mark of the trump presidency, and for republicans, however, there is little to celebrate. in what the "new york times" calls a cruel summer for the gop, it everything from tax reform to a seemingly easy issue like russian sanctions has been undermined and unravelled.
the words of senator bob corker, who is making a lot of appearances on the show today. "things are starting to feel incoherent. there's just not a lot of progress happening." and then there's health care on which the president has been all over the map. it's an issue he has been talking about from the beginning of his campaign. here now is a look back at more than two years of donald trump's ever-flexible positions on this issue. >> the big lie, obama care. >> universal health care. >> i am going to take care of everybody. >> who pays for it? >> the government is going to pay for it. >> in 17 it all explodes. whoever is going to be president is not going to be easy, but i'll solve the problem. i will. >> somebody said donald trump proposed helping people that have -- what are we going to do? let them die on the street. >> that's not single payer, by the way. that's called heart. >>er would going to get rid of the lines. we have lines around each state. >> what is your plan? i understand the lines around the state. this is not a game where you draw maps around.
>> you don't know what it means. that's the problem. >> she wants to knock the hell out of your medicare and medicaid, and i'm going to save them. >> and a tiny fraction of the cost. it's going to be so easy. >> we have so many have so many alternatives. >> at a fraction, a fraction of the cost. >> it's not going to be a two-day year, and not a two-year where there's nothing. it will be great health care for much less money. >> repeal and replace, probably the same day, would be the same hour. >> it's an unbelievably complex subject. nobody knew that health care could be so complicated. >> we're going to get this thing done and figured out. >> we were very close, and it was very, very tight margin. >> how is health care coming, folks? we're moving along? >> we're going to get this pass through the senate. i feel so confident, but we want to wrag about the -- brag about the plan, because this plan, i've been talking about a plan with heart. i said add some money to it.
>> it's mean. >> they use my term, mean. that was my term. >> 48-4. that's a pretty impressive vote by any standard. we're not going to own it. i'm not going to own it. i can tell you the republicans are not going to own it. i'm sitting in the oval office, pen in hand, waiting to sign something. >> we shouldn't leave town until this is complete. if we're weak on anything, it's on letting people know how good it was. >> that was really good. i said mean first is the part that always gets me. said no president ever. >> my favorite is the 48-4 score. a complete lack of understanding of what -- that's a loss. that's a huge "l". >> it's incredible. sometimes he's hard to follow. >> we kind of sit here and watch this day after day. if you replay the first 50 minutes of this show, the complete bedlam and insanity on every 4relevel and every situat,
there's a drunk driver in the white house. >> and it's okay until it's not. >> just remember, it's six months in. we have still to confront a real crisis. every crisis we've been talking act has come from within. the world has been relatively calm. until the day it's not. >> 836 either lies or misleading statements, that's 4.6 a day. almost five times a day -- >> that doesn't bother him. it's the fact that he's achieved nothing that's going to bother him. writing in the wall street jury room, a new republican president and a republican senate and house put everything they had into a bill to repeal and replace balm obama care. and couldn't do it. while enacting determination and scolding tone toward those who let him down, he rarely showed
signs of fully understanding the details or even the essentials of the plans he backed. his public remarks were all over the place. his supporters will likely never hate him because they weren't all that illusioned. at some time baseline political competence is going to be part of the story. if the president continues to show he doesn't have the tool box for this job, he's going to go from not gaining support to losing support. he's not magic and they're not stupid. weigh in on this notion of basic competition, in this case, incompetence. i've thought this narrative of there's nothing he could do to lose the trump base was only half true. they're going to give him time. they're not looking at the missteps because they're giving him time to get us out of nafta, to reopen factories, but when he can't govern with the congress
because he doesn't understand policy, i think they'll do an about face. >> there was one clip you didn't play, i alone can fix it. now what we're finding out with health care as being the first test, he's actually thinking, i don't know how to fix this. paul ryan, can you come up with something? just get me a win, and then he's all over the place in terms of sending congress signals on what it is that he wants out of health care. and i don't think that ultimately this is going to happen. because if you see those members of congress coming out of these hours' long meetings with the president, they say that they're optimistic, but there's no sign that they've made any kind of progress on the specifics, and to his base, here's the irony. republicans all along have thought if we don't get this done, poi bio, are we going to be punished because we've been promising this to the base for eight plus years. if you drill down and look at the polling stats in trump
districts, this plan is unpopular, and i think adding to the nervousness of these moderates is essentially a fundamental recalculation of the politics that maybe after all, it's better if we just don't cast this vote. that is in contrast to the thinking for the past eight years. if we don't at least take a vote, we're going to be punished. the stats now that the plan is out, are not looking good, and i take you back to what pat toomey said which is they were caught flat footed. they didn't expect trump to win, and they had to cobble this thing together, and it's not popular even among their base. >> the bill only has 17% support. what is the reason for a republican to double down on this? i think what we're seeing clearly is a critical crisis of conscious in the republican party. they're being exposed as being hypocrites. they're being exposed of being
mean spirited. they're being exposed as lacking heart. i don't understand the political cash value of signing onto this thing. >> it is a problem that they voted to repeal obama care when they knew it wouldn't happen and now they can't muster support. >> the main thing to come back to the competence point is they're being exposed for beingbeing incompetent. it's been a centerpiece for them since 2010 and they now have a chance to do it and they're unable to do anything. >> coming up, more on the reports that the trump white house is looking for ways to undermine the mueller investigation. has the president begins to ask questions about pardons. and one of the new york times reporters who conducted the interview with the president has everybody talking. he joins us. plus chris coo-- "morning joe" n a moment.
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it's hard to know why he'd assemble such a team unless it was a deliberate effort to go after the president and the president's team. >> that was newt gingrich setting a an argument with bop mueller that the white house is following according to multiple reports this morning. welcome back to "morning joe." joe and mika have the morning off. i'm nicole wallace with john hailman. mike barnicle, donny deutsche is here fresh off his bar bar shop quartet concert. >> you used to be a friend. you have been suckered into this. >> i got to go with candy striper. he's a candy striper and chief. >> they're mean, not me. i got nothing but love for you, donny. the president of the council on foreign relations. richard hosz, eddie glad, heidi,
and -- >> i love donny's suit. >> thank you. don't let these men bully you around. >> peter baker is here, and gene robinson. let's get to the news. this morning president trump's approval rating is at 36% in the latest gallop poll. is that a good number? >> i don't think so. i slowed it down to think about it. i think it's the lowest ever. he'll probably have something interesting to say. the number comes as multiple reports say the president is laying the ground work to undermine the justice department's special council tasked to investigate any links between the trump campaign and the russian government. any crimes committed in response to the investigation. according to washington post, president trump has told aides he was disturbed after learning mueller would be able to access several years of his tax
returns. his lawyers are sending a message saying, quote, the scope is going to have to stay within mueller's mandate. if there's drifting, we'll object. a report in bloomberg based on a single source, mueller is examining financial transactions between trump, his associates and russia going back to at least 2004. "the washington post" reports trump has asked his advisors about his ability to pardon himself, aides according to probes. another said trump's lawyers have been discussing the president's pardoning powers among themselves. the president has simply expressed curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority and the limits of mueller's investigation. quote, this is not in the context of i can't wait to pardon myself a close advisor said. the trump attorney says the story is not true. it's nonsense. the president's lawyers are cooperating with special counsel mueller on behalf of the
president. wow. i guess you could google pardoning, but why not talk about it among yourselves? >> i want to ask this question. you have a lot of familiarity with criminal law having been in jail on multiple occasions. >> i beat every case. >> i want to ask you this. the president's, we're six months in, the presidents's these investigations are about two months old and the president is having active discussions according to others about the extent of his pardoning power. his family, his staff, and himself. what does that say to you? >> that he's filled with fear of the investigation. that there's something about this investigation that fills him with fear. he has at least two highly, highly competent lawyer in john doud and ty cob. they're running into the problem
that general mcmaster runs into and secretary tillerson runs into. he's the communications chief himself, the president. he's his and secretary of state, the president, and he's his own attorney, the president. he has to baffle and bedevil anyone trying to provide him counsel. if you read him the charter, he would know the special prosecutor is operating according to what they're supposed to. >> it's a reality problem. if he understands the law and stays in his lane, he's going down, because it's a 20-year story of sleazy russian real estate connections. talk to anybody. he cannot peel that back on you. this is his only play. it's the wrong play, but there's no other play. >> i imagine "the new york times," they are the great newspaper is reporting the lawyers and aides are seeking ways to discredit or fire robert mueller and his prosecutors. the effort includes scrutinizing donations to democratic
candidates, investigator's past clients and the relationship with comey whose firing. they considered mueller and met with mueller before his appointed special council. in trump's interview on wednesday he said talk about conflicts. mueller wasn't interviewing for this job. there were many other jobs i haven't said, but i will at some point, end quote. >> he's good at a tease. >> he is. he's constantly in the deep tease. sometimes he comes through and sometimes he doesn't. as far as robert mueller's investigation, multiple officials familiar with the ongoing probe tell us the special councsel is, quote, finding the strike zone, and continuing to gather documents including financial records and business dealings of those close to the trump campaign. peter baker, you were one of the people in that celebrated justly
celebrated interview and then your paper has another block buster today about this question of undermining mueller. it seems to me that the president in both your interview and through the reporting of your paper exposed today, is really trying to say that his financial past is off limits, and that if mueller goes into what he has declared to be a bad zone here, that there will be consequences. so a, am i right that is now just clear, and b., where does that take us? >> no question, i think he's sending a clear warning shot to the special counsel. in our interview we candidaaske what were the boundaries as he saw them for robert mueller's investigation and what would he do if he thought robert mueller exceeded them. he was careful about not giving a specific answer. he did not say i will fire him. he did not go down that far, down the road.
he made clear that was on the able, that that was, in fact, one place he could end up if he decided that robert mueller went too far. we specifically asked him at one point what if he looks at finances that don't have something to do with russia? he says that would be a violation. this is supposed to be about russia. to so where that line is i think is not necessarily clear. the point is he was drawing them. the president of the united states was saying to the investigator, you cannot go too far. there could be consequences. why do we conflict of interest? under the procedures the president can direct the justice department to fire the special counsel only under special circumstances. one is conflict of interest. the fact they're sending this red flag is in some ways meant to influence the robert mueller's conduct of his investigation going forward. >> peter, it's nicole. do you sense that he has any
awareness from having considered bob mueller as his own fbi director any idea of who this man is. he's a military hero, that after 9/11 he helped solve the problem of the cia and the fbi not talking to each other, connecting the dots, kept the country safe after 9/11, that he's respected and revered on both sides of the aisle by some or all? do you sense that -- i mean, i know he called john mccain rather famously a bad p.o.w. because he was captured. i know nothing is sacred with this man, but do you sense anyone around him is trying to pump the brakes on the character assassination of bob muler? >> people around him are. this is connected to the blowup of the legal team. some of the lawyers told him don't go after robert mueller. first of all, he's good and a smart guy, a person of integrity. second of all, he has that reputation, and it will not be to your benefit.
some lawyers said to the president in effect, look, if you didn't do anything wrong and we think you don't have anything to worry about in terms of the russia investigation, then you should want robert mueller at his special counsel. if he find it, it will have credibility on both sides of the aisle. for several weeks president trump laid off. he kind of stopped doing that. then he went there pretty strongly in the interview. as you see in the articles this morning, there's something they're researching. now someone is out as the spokesman for the legal team. that's one of the issues. he had great respect for robert mueller because he worked with him in the justice department during your administration and thought robert mueller was a person of integrity and they shouldn't be attacking him. >> i like that, your administration, nicole. >> i'll take it. no. i'll take it. every day and sunday. i'll take it. >> looking better and better by the day. >> only the donald trump can
make the bush years look like the golden age. >> you've been in washington since the garfield administration, gene, and so reading the transcript, i'm sure like me, you read the entire transcript. >> i did. >> in the times interview. what's going through your head having watched past administrations and lived through past administrations? >> when you read the whole transcript, the first thing you think is this is insane. i mean, this is -- in parts, it is clinically insane. it is just -- it's rambling. it's discursive. it veers off in crazy directions, his history of napoleon and hitler, and 35 degrees below zero and extracurricular activities, it's nuts. and that's really worry somebecause he's the president of the united states. the other thing is clearly he
is -- i think donny deutsche is right. i think this is -- >> dig. >> think that through. >> first of all, i love barbershop quartets. actually not. no, i think trump is taking the only play that he sees there. which is to go after mueller because he doesn't want the investigation just to proceed because it's going to come across some really sleazy business dealings with russians, and they're out there, i think, and mueller is going to find them. he especially doesn't want mueller rooting through his tax returns, which i think mueller is doing, and it's kind of desperation. he's got some power. he's president of the united states, but i think it is desperation. >> wow. >> before you read the script, i have to ask. i want a poll. is trump going to fire mueller? yes or no? >> no. >> no. >> absolutely. >> he's going to try but no.
>> okay. we have a split decision. what do you think? >> i think he fires all of them. i think he fires the whole list of people, rosenstein, sessions, mueller, mccay. >> bob corker and the other republicans, what do they do when they get a whiff this is about what the president is about to do? >> i'm done being wrong. every time i say it won't happen, he does it. >> he would rather fire mueller and get impeached than go the other direction and end up in jail. >> everything about this looks like i think he's teeing himself up to fire mueller and at that point we'll be in a constitutional crisis. >> then he gets to walk away and go i was a victim and turn to the trump network. the other way he end up behind bars. there's a big distinction. >> hours after being publicly undercut to say the least, by the president, jeff sessions remains committed to the job at hand. still the white house says the
two men haven't spoken in the last 24 years. at a news conference yesterday, it was overshadowed by the president's comments that he would never have offered sessions the jobs of attorney general if he knew he would step aside from the russia probe. >> i have the honor of serving as attorney general. it's something that goes beyond any thought i would have ever had for myself. we love this job. we love this department, and i plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate. >> general sessions, how do you feel like you can effectively serve from here on out if you don't have the confidence of the president? >> we're serving right now. the work we're doing today is the kind of work that we intend to continue. >> i was proud to be here yesterday. i'm proud to be here today.
i'll be proud to be here tomorrow. we're working to improve the interest of the department. we're happy to answer any questions about this case. it's an important case, and we have a lot of folks here who assisted in that investigation. that's all i'm going to talk about today. >> any questions about alphabet? all right. thank you. >> it's not about alphabet. are you concerned you'll be seen as a zombie attorney general? >> wow. question. >> wow. all right. "the washington post" reports, quote, some republicans in frequent touch with the white house said they viewed the president's decision to publicly air his disappointment with sessions as a warning sign that the attorney general's days were numbered. some senior aides were described as stunned when sessions announced he would remain on the job. peter baker, we've been talking about how nothing is sacred. i guess sort of respect toward your own cabinet is no longer something that trump-appointed cabinet official should expect. >> well, look, this is hardly
the first president who was frustrated with his attorney general -- >> but it might be the first one who called the new york time and talked to them for 50 minutes without a white house steno in the oval and trashed his sitting attorney general on the record. i googled it. i couldn't find anybody else. >> that would be new. i can't remember that happening either. he says what he thinks. there's clearly a lot of consternation in the white house. >> come on. he trashed -- he appointed him. >> he did, yes. >> what makes my head explode is that he picked sessions, sessions made these omissions in the process of being confirmed as trump -- trump sets the whole thing in motion, and then trashes someone for doing something that probably -- he would have been much better off to have stayed in the senate and said thanks but no thanks, mr. president. >> in fact, he criticized sessions for his handling of that testimony. said he took simple questions and made them hard, and he messed up in, effect. it's interesting how this is fresh for the president. this is several months old and
he and the attorney general, they're on the same page on a lot of issues, most importantly immigration, which is central to this presidency, but this one point of conflict, this issue with the recusal has poisoned the relationship. can you go on as an attorney general under those circumstances? of course it's more difficult. on the other hand, in some ways jeff sessions is no hero to the left. but this gives him a certain credibility with people who don't normally support him because now he's seen as independent from the president. >> elizabeth warren defended him yesterday. stunning. >> yeah. that is stunning. that's like stop the press stunning. >> that's what i thought. >> heidi, listening to this conversation this morning, and all day yesterday after the "times" interview, it strikes a lot of people, me included, that we're in a unique position here in terms of the history of the presidency that this president seems to be a man apart.
a man alone. uninfluenced by any advice and taking to people like jeff sessions, a member of his cabine cabinet hinting that mcmaster upset him because of his views. where do we go from here? >> i think this is the point where we remind people that trump's presidency is really an experiment in our history. and that we're bringing in someone with no experience whatsoever in government, or military, but we are bringing in someone who is a ceo who is accustom to having absolute power, absolute power to hire and to fire as he sees fit, and who has not taken to the customs or has not the respect for the separation of powers in our country. you see from that interview where he mentions that sessions should have told him before he
took the job that he was going to recuse himself, showing a fundamental lack of understanding that sessions' loyalty is to the rule of law. it is not to him. and so it just shows that this skill set, at least in the case of donald trump of having exclusively experience as being a chief executive and the head of the reality show "apprentice" has not transferred to the presidency. >> also apparently there's chronology. sessions couldn't have told him at the time, because it was the confirmation hearings. >> if you read the transcript of the interview, it's like taking -- >> it's going to end up in the smithsonian. >> rereading it, it was like taking a cross country trip with multiple stops where you didn't even know.
>> yes. here we go. let's move on here. joining us from the white house national correspondent -- we need someone to raise us up -- peter alexander, my friend, president trump's outside legal team facing some shakeups. i know you can give us the inside skinny on that. go. >> let's give you the break down over the last 24 hours. nbc news confirming kasowitz, we are now told that he is in effect, out. he's stepping back. those familiar with the insight saying he's going to provide guidance to the president. notably a spokesperson for the legal team told me earlier this morning he resigned. certainly a shakeup in terms of the legal team at this point.
just barely two months after they started with this new task of helping provide guidance to the president. this comes following the hiring of an internal, an inside legal counsel, mr. cob who is supposed to guide the president and his team on all things related to the russia investigation. separately in terms of the white house's messaging, a couple of months ago, the communications director stepped away. he left his post here. sean spicer, the press secretary was overseeing those roles. this morning it appears clear the president is moving toward signing on anthony scaramucci. he fought cnn about a story that tied him to the russia investigation that led to the departure of three reporters and investigators at cnn. that was something celebrated in the white house as a win in their fight against as they
describe it, the mainstream media. scaramucci has support from one of the president's closest aides. he's sort of a scrappy guy. he's a cuff talker and someone the president describes as someone who delivers his message on his behalf well. >> all right. peter alexander, wildcat, great american, thank you for that. i want to go to jean robinson for a last question. off the story about the legal team. you have donald trump and a couple lawyers kind of on the outs or leaving entirely. kasowitz, a lot of questions around whether he was ever suited for this job. you have a good team now. is it -- at the same time, you have trump doing these things that any lawyer would maybe have some problems with. do you imagine we're moving into a world where trump's defense is stable, streamlined and
professioniz profession alized or is there more chaos? >> more chaos. he won't do what his lawyers tell him to do, and i don't think he'll start. i think he's going to continue trying to be his own communications director in matters governmental and investigative and keep stepping in it, i think, and the lawyers are going to find themselves in a situation where they're trying to sort of scramble around and pick up the pieces. it might be more stable in terms of personnel if he has people around him who he's comfortable with now, but in terms of it actually being a sensible disciplined defense, you know, discipline is not a word that i would apply to the trump white house. >> well said. >> more understatement on the show today. >> it reminds me of the
conversations about whether he'll stop tweeting. thank you. we'll be reading your new piece in the washington post. morning quote, don't get distracted, the gop's cruel health care plan isn't dead yet in fact peter baker, thank you as well. we'll be looking for the transcript of your interview with the president in the smithsonian. up next, russia's top diplomat isn't denying the possibility that president trump and vladimir putin interacted with each other on previously undisclosed times. keir joins us live from moscow in a moment. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ♪ mom. ♪ ♪ where all the walls echo with laughter ♪
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had an exclusive interview with the lawyer at the heart of the meeting with donald trump junior. and now he sits down with sergey lavrov. he joins us now y. >> reporter: what's interesting is for all the talk about whether the russian government supported the trump campaign, what you get from this interview with the russian foreign minister is they are still supportive of donald trump. at the g-20 there were three meetings between president trump and president putin. now sergey lavrov suggests perhaps there were other meetings between the two leaders. the russian foreign minister was in the room when president trump met president putin for two
hours this month. the two leaders had also met briefly to shake hands and later spoke at an official dinner after president putin was seated next to the first lady. now asked if they interacted on other occasions at the g-20, mr. lavrov is dismissive but does not deny the possibility. >> we know about them meeting three times at the g-20. they met at the dinner -- >> they went to the toilet together. >> they met also when they refer to shaking hands. that's my question. did they meet other time in the hallways? >> when you are brought by your parents to a kindergarten, do you mix with the people who are waiting in the same room to start going to a class or classroom? >> if the g-20, not kindergarten. >> there is also a room where they get together before an event starts. they cannot arrive all at the same time on the bus.
>> reporter: this is his first u.s. interview since that g-20 meeting. and following his controversial visit to the oval office in may, where it was alleged president trump shared sensitive u.s. intelligence with mr. lavrov. but the intelligence about an alleged isis plot to turn smart phones and devices into bombs was not secret, sergey lavrov claims. >> he was accused of telling me a secret about something which was discovered by special services. and which related to the ability of terrorists to manipulate with smart phones, notebooks, the way which would allow the explosive to be placed in those devices. but this very statement was made publicly either by fbi or by cia about a month before i entered the oval office.
>> he repeated russian denials. describing president trump as engaged in a fight with the american establishment. >> fight goes on. they want to make the life of this administration miserable. people try to speak about impeachment. >> reporter: it's a fight? >> it's absolutely a fight. but as i said -- >> reporter: and russia is on president trump's side? >> no. we are on the side of justice. >> reporter: and in our interview sergey lavrov describes the seizure of two u.s. compounds as robbery. the u.s. says were used by spying for the russians. while praising president trump, moscow has been threatening to expel u.s. diplomats over that issue. >> keir, it's extraordinary. great exclusive work in moscow
and the first interview with the russian lawyer, now the sit down with the russian foreign minister. thank you. richard, what do you make, first of all, lavrov is making toilet jokes, it's proof the world is going mad. just the -- he's a pro's pro. he makes it no secret they are playing trump. >> right. the contempt with which he spoke during that interview. this is a seasoned diplomat. when he chooses that kind of a tone and substance, it's not accidental. it was contempt, and now t a bit of menace. what this is saying if you don't know, don't do what we do, giving us access to the compounds from which they engineered spies, there will be rep pepper cushions. >> what are we getting? go
nothing. why has donald trump sustained a policy toward russia generous word benign or sanguine, another is why are we letting them essentially for freedom nate in syria and dominate in ukraine? why are we letting them interview in our political process cost free? something doesn't add up. my background is foreign policy. i can't explain it on a narrow geo political argument. why we would have this attitude toward russia given everything they're doing in the world. russia is 1/10 the size of china. why would we give so much room to russia given the important issues? >> it's not a question of what we are getting as a country. the question is what is donald trump get organization what has donald trump gotten out of this arrangement? that's the question. >> we don't know that. let's bring in a member of both the foreign relations and the judiciary committees, chris coons of delaware.
senator, you were able to hear that interview keir simmons with sergey lavrov? >> yes. >> did you get the impression, is it wrong to get the impression listening to lavrov and thinking of putin and lavrov and trump in the same way, that we're looking at a huge mismatch here and that we're paying a price? >> yes. i think it's important for us to remember that vladimir putin and sergey lavrov are very experienced players in the world stage. this is the fourth american president with which they've had the opportunity to work, and vladimir putin a skilled former kgb agent has all the tools at his disposal that russia has used to play chess with us. and my concern is president trump is on checkers or not on
the same board. >> what are your thoughts on russia and tehran now that we've supposedly given up the ghost in syria. russia and tehran dominating that region of the world? >> well, that's got significant strategic consequences for us and our close allies. there was a compelling column in the post yesterday entitled "trump's breathtaking surrender to russia". it points out some of the consequences of the unilaterally walking away from the syrian opposition. it's been trained and equipped by the cia over recent years. and the idea that we would make a number of concessions to russia without getting anything in return. and how that weakness will affect our role in the middle east, in western europe and throughout the world. as richard pointed out, we've got significant challenges around the world. we're not talking about north korea. we're not talking about finding ways to move china toward reigning in the nuclear program.
we're talking about how we're on the retreat in the face of russian assertion or aggressiveness, whether it's on the eastern edge of nato or in the middle east in syria. to your question, i think iran is poised to take advantage of the opening that's being created here, and to spread their brand of extremism even more broadly throughout the middle east. >> senator, you also sit on the judiciary committee. you've invited donald trump junior and paul manafort to testify on wednesday. i wonder if you think they'll show up, and if you'll subpoena them if they do not. >> well, both the chair of the committee, senator grassly and ranking member feinstein said they'll use the subpoena power if they don't come willingly. i expect we'll see them wednesday. i think this is an important next step in better understanding what happened. i'll remind you that the meeting that they had, that donald trump junior had and jared kushner and paul manafort was supposedly
about adoptions, something that president trump referenced as well. the adoptions issue is tied to an act that is a set of sanctions on russian human rights abusers. folks who were involved in murdering a man back in 2009. this is something senators have really championed as part of our long history of standing up to russian abuses of human rights. >> all right. senator, thank you so much for spending time with us. still ahead on "morning joe" -- >> did russia intervene in our election? >> of course, and the one before that, and the one before that. they've been at this a long time. i don't think they have any intention of backing off. i'm confident the russians mettled in this election as is the entire intelligence community. >> maybe someone should tell president trump that. mike mcfaul has questions about that. more "morning joe" in just a moment.
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yes, the russians interfered in the election. they interfered before that and before that. and they're going to interfere again. your thoughts? >> two things about that. the first half yes they interfered. clearly he's not on the same page as the president. second, this is business as usual. this is what the russians have been doing for several elections. i've never seen that evidence or heard that suggestion. that surprised me. we should not in any way be -- >> do you think he's trying to normalize the question saying it happens to every president? >> i have no idea what the motives are. >> the strategy is to say instead of taking the crazy position which is it didn't happen. averse to all available evidence, diminish it, it's been going on forever. it has nothing to do with trump. it's just as it was now and ever shall be. amen.
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enta bail yus. >> when you look at the current bill that's making its way through the senate, what do you see as the kind of animating values, the animating commitment underlying this piece of legislation? >> well, t a great question. i have no idea what it is that the senate is trying to do. and, in fact, there are four bills at last count that i know are floating around the senate,
and it's very unclear which one of them may come for some kind of vote next week, but it -- we know this about all of them. we know that somewhere between 22 and 30 million people will lose coverage. we know all of them, costs will go up. some of them, premiums are lowered, but people will pay higher out of pocket costs, deductibles and co-pays. if you're older or lower income, your costs are going to skyrocket. we know women will lose their choice of health care providers for millions of people around the country they choose a planned parenthood provider for cancer screenings and preventive care. that's going to be gone, and so it's very unclear is this all just about money? money from the federal government, but that money is not put in deficit reduction. it's really going to be given
back in terms of tax breaks to wealthy americans. so i'm not sure what the animating value is. and i think what people also need to understand is beyond those is beyond those features that i just mentioned, really, deal with some of the repeal of this so-called obamacare law, but beyond that, the republicans in both the house and the senate are determined to go after the underlying medicaid program, which has been in place for since the mid-60s. it is the most important federal state partnership that we have. every governor in the country should be terrified of what is being proposed, because it will blow up every state budget. medicaid pays for the of half the children, about 40% of all children's insurance, it's the largest mayer for nursing home care. it pays for disabled seniors and adults. so those populations don't go
away. those costs get shifted to state and local deposits. >> i think a lot of governments agree with it. is it too laid to have a land-aland band-aid approach? you don't have repeal, you don't have replace. you have administrative adjustments to handle the insurance markets s. that a viable and most likely in the house for now? >> i think people in congress seem to be playing beat the clock with people's lives and they own every piece of the real estate. the presidency, the house, and the senate is owned be i the republicans until at least january of 2019 so they have another year-and-a-half. i have no idea who set this time table for this health care debate. but the smartest thing to do is pay attention to the other clock that's running. which is by september, insurance companies have to finalize rates in every market in the state. that's the law.
they have to begin open enrollment for 2018 in november of this year. so pay attention to that clock for a bit. give yourself some time, but say, we're going to pay the subsidies through '18 and '19, we are absolutely going to make sure that we do outreach and enrollment so people know that they have a chance to sign up for health insurance. we're going no make a specialist for young and healthy people to come in. then look at what it is that you want to do. work with governors. excuse me, work with state insurance commissioners. that's where the insurance markets are. they can stabilize these markets. >> madam secretary, anybody watching, i am the smartest mind on t on the show. whoever owns this, as we make a decision as we do as a humane society to give 25 or 30 million
health care that can no longer afford it the rest of us will may more in one form or another, beginning, middle, end of story, somebody has to come out and say that. it's a mathematical certainty. that's it. that's it. there is no clean solution to this. >> well, i would disagree with that premise. if you don't give those 20 million people health care or if you take it away as house and senate proposals would do, we're still going to pay more as taxpayers. we pay more for every bed in the hospital that our insurance buys for us because that price goes up, hospitals are providing so-called uncompensated care. people coming in, who can't pay their own bills, we may more as employers because our ploy i don't see don't show up to work on time, can't do their jobs. we pay more because our kids don't have insurance, aren't as well prepared to be in school. they don't graduate on time.
so as a society, you bet the cost is there, but i would say we don't often count the costs of who's sitting in jails, who with a little opioid treatments could actually be productive members? who's under a bridge in our cities and towns because they need some mental health counseling? those are costs that we pay day in and day out for uninsured americans. isn't it better to pay those costs and have those costs spread and have people productive and in the work force and taking car of their own kids? >> thank you so much for spending time with us. heidi, quick thoughts on where things hand and how republicans lost their way so completely in terms of a message and a purpose when it comes to health care boils? >>ly take you back to what senator toomey said. they didn't think that trump was actually going to win and they wouldn't have to cobble something together so quickly. >> they had seven.5 years.
that's not a rush. what were they doing? >> they were passing 50 different votes in the house to repeal without a plan to replace. so yeah, they should have had a plan the place. there is no good explanation for not. now i think, nicole, what we in the press have to watch is what happens if this administration's ability to further undercut the current system the only system that we have, for example, by not fully enforcing that mandate, by not advertising enrollment and in curbing enrollment, because the truth is the the way to fix this system is by having as many people as possible in this system. not just the sixth but also the young and healthy. >> all right. still ahead, president trump is reportedly brushing up on the powers of the presidency, particularly how to pardon people, really? we'll break down the new reports this morning about what and the white house looking to turn the tables of the special counsel, "morning joe" is coming right
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>> that was republican senator bob corker, chairman of the foreign relations committee telling us last month he cannot possibly imagine president trump would fire bob mueller, the special counsel, tasked with investigating russian interference with domestic politics and links between the kremlin and trump campaign. what about actively undermining him? this morning, there are multiple reports president trump and his aides are laying the ground for alleged conflicts in interest to undercut the russia probe. good morning, it's friday, july 21st. i'm nicole wallace, joe and mika have the day off. ms nbc john heilemann, veteran columnist, can we say veteran? >> oh. very. >> contributor mike barnical. donny deutsche. wow. >> the best dressed. the president of the counsel on foreign relations and author of
the book a world in disarray, richard haase, studied at princeton university and columnist for "time magazine" usa senior politic, "new york times" reporter michaelxhidt. wow, hi, michael the co-author we referenced about the white house looking for reference. this morning, president trump's approval rating is at 36% in the latest gallup poll. multiple rarts say he is undermining special counsel, casting links between the president trump campaign and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation. and any crimes committed in response to the investigation. according to washington post, president trump has told aides he was essentially, especially disturbed after learning that special counsel bob mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns, but
his lawyers are sending a message saying quote, the scope is going to have to stay within mueller's mandate. if there's drifting, we're going to object. he cited a report from bloom burg from a single saurs saying he is examining trump and associates in russia, the washington post reports trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself, in connection with the probe, according to one source. another said trump's lawyers have been discussing the president's pardoning powers amongst themself, an ad advisor says the president has simply expressed curiosity. you should google that, mr. president, of his pardoning authorities and the limits of his investigation. quote, this is not in the context of quote i can't wait to pardon myself, a close adviser said. >> the "new york times" is report tag president trump's lawyers and aides are seeking
ways to discredit or fire special counsel bob mueller. it includes scrutinizing donations, investigators past clients and james comey firing as a part of the special counsel's investigation. the president had considered mule tore replace comey as fbi direct ord and met with mueller shortly before he was appointed special counsel, if trump's interview with the "new york times" wednesday, he said quote, talk about conflicts, mueller was interviewing for the job. there were many other conflicts i haven't said, but i will at some point. the washington adviser told the washington post another potential conflict is an allegation that mueller and trump national golf club in northern virginia had dispute over membership fees where mueller resigned if when the 11. a spokesperson for mueller said there, in fact, was no dispute. according to "time's" a prosecutor rules they may not participate if they have a political or personal
relationship with the subject of the case, something like a campaign donation is not included on the list of a political relationship and deputy attorney general's order appointing mueller, special count sell, allows for a broad mandate into matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation end quote. on wednesday the deputy attorney general was asked to address some of these issues. >> some of the attorneys that he has hired that several of them have made donations to hillary clinton, to the clinton campaign, does that bother you? does it make you believe those people have to be questioned if terms of their impartiality in this investigation? >> the department of justice, we judge by results, so my idea about that is we will see if they do the right thing. >> as we said before, we have the philadelphia philly's mike schmidt on one of these incredible block buster pieces,
i want to ask you, there is a lot in this piece, obviously the flashing red light is the notion the president is talking about to what extent he has the power to pardp his aides, family members and potentially himself, so tell us a little more about what your reporting shows about what his attitude is towards that question and how -- he's asking the question with what kind of disposition? >> well, i think the president clearly understands the seriousness of mueller. he clearly gets the problem here, which is an investigation which starts with russia is going to go into a lot of different directions. what the white house is trying to do is try and find ways to stop mueller from going into the area, going beyond that and what can they do? since they're researching the lawyers that mueller has hired. they're looking at their background, the cases that they dealt with, they're looking at whether they ever got rebukes by courts or anything, trying to come up with any type of
information that they could use to put these two, to either disqualify some of these lawyers going forward to put them on the defensive and to create problems for mueller. they are certainly taking an aggressive posture here. this is not the most unusual thing. look, when ken starr was appointed, folks started demonizing him for political reasons. this seems to be along those lines, if not more severe. i think the president wants to be very aggressive here. it's certainly a stance, they are going to fight this instead of saying, look, we will do everything to cooperate and leave you alone to do what you are doing. i think the president will go after him. the president's lawyers don't want him to do this. as we saw earlier this week, he can't but help to continue to attack mueller in the process. >> that leads to the question of the president's lawyer, you just referenced, according to your report, what impact are any of the lawyers he surrounded
himself with are having on the president in this regard? >> well, it's our sense that they don't want him to be out there. at least, you know, some of them don't want him to be out there being so aggressive on this issue. they think it antagonizes mueller, it raises questions about, you know, the independence of mueller, and it's just a distraction and it's not helpful. and but at the same time, this is a president that believes she his best spokesman and has shown the willingness to attack folks and his own attorney general just the other day. he sees that as his best offense here. but the problem is at the same time, it sort of raises questions about the process. he is really undermining mueller in ways, certainly in the public side and putting the political lens on it that may not really be there. >> speaking of lawyers and shakeups, there are shakeups to trump's external team.
marc kasowitz is no longer leading. they will continues to guide them. kasowitz is seen as a diminishing presence in the operation. the spokesman for the outside legal team tells peter alexander he has resigned. he started this two months ago, according to politico has grown up with the waring factions and lawyers. he was reportedly concerned about whether he was being told the truth about various matters one of those people said. heidi, what do you hear about how hope springs etern am, someone, some day will be different, it seems how this every story about tang himming with trump ends. >> it's also in the context of what is happening at this time which is carallo knows more than what he is saying than having this distrust that maybe he's not told the truth t. timing of all of this in terms of trump
going after mueller, going after sessions, seems to be that he is upset that they are going to go after hess tax returns. i take you back to the very beginning of this campaign that all of us have been pushing to get that disclosure and somehow, you know, the president promised during the course of the campaign, after the audit was over, he would give us those tax returns. he never did. not only did he give us the tax returns that weren't under audit. we never saw the tax returns no longer under audit. so this seems to be the trigger pointed for the president the point at which he is becoming very nervous and even those closest advisers around him are essentially starting to bail like carallo. i would like to know what was it that made him suspicious that maybe he isn't being told the truth? >> i want to jump back to where you started the show, a great
interview with corker, who said it is implausible trump will fire mueller. one thing about trump is he tells you what he's going to do, that's what totalitarian people do. he said there is a red line if you go into my businesses. okay, they're going into his businesses. i want to refer to greg unger, call'd "trump's laud laundromat mat." it lays out the dirty russian money coming in. trump knows he cannot let it go that far. it's not. he will be destroyed. he will end up possibly in jail. he will fire mueller at some point, he's keying it up. that's where this is going, no mistake about it. donald trump is not going to survive regardless of the laws or repercussions are and let this investigation go on in its own terms. >> michael, i want to jump in here, one, i think only deputy attorney general rod rosenstein can fire mueller. mueller is the only one who
enrages him in your interview from early this week i made a list of everyone dissed. sessions, mccabe, rows subpoena stein and mueller. they're not all the name i same, they have different profiles, anyone that will run the justice department or be the dad will have some commitment to the rule of law, which is going to allow mueller to conduct an investigation? there is nothing outside the scope of the investigation if you look at following the money that seems sort of central to it. >> yeah, can you clearly see as they do this research and look into the lawyers, they're looking to not only put hurdles, if they have to make the argument to get rid of mueller, how would they do that? would this give them ammunition? they raised mueller's relationship with comey, there isn't much of a relationship there, they said oh mueller can't do this, him and comey are
best friends, comey did this to get him appointed. indeed, they worked together in the past. they aren't that close, they aren't buddy buddy, there are folks comey worked with as a prosecutor or he took with him to the fbi, but there really isn't a relationship there, they've seized on that as a way of undermining mueller. the interesting thing is there is probably few people in washington as well respected by both parties as mueller, so they're taking on someone who a lot of people like and a lot of people have respect for and someone credited with keeping people safe as the fbi director and keeping the fbi intact as it moves forward and changes its mission towards counter terrorism. >> still ahead, former ambassador to russia, michael mcfall, he will talk about his interview with sergei lavrov. what the addition of anthony
scaramucci means and the future of sean spicer, first, here's bill kierans with a check on the forecast. >> the heat os on, we got severe storms, too, a fire in california the detweiler fire, we now we heard a report it went from 48,000 to 70,000 in one day, to up to 50 homes. a thousand acre blaze, this is a wilderness area, that was a little more under control. the heat, 78 million people all in the central plains, areas of the mid-atlantic. today is the day, 27 million people at risk of severe storms so on the northern edge of our big heat tomorrow, we will have thunderstorm complexes coming down, damaging winds possible
and everywhere in between, watch out later today, it's a saturday. those storms will be rolling in mid-atlantic. that's why there's 83 million people in the slight risk in the area of yellow here. storms won't arrive until late in the evening in areas of the mid-atlantic. how hod will it be? st. louis is a poster child for this heat wave. 103 into today. 10 104 on saturday, thunderstorms in the east and st. louis are you back to a bear able 96 which is still hot. we leave with you a shot from new york city. under a heat advisory. you are watching "morning joe." be right back. zplmpblths
known as the mooch, sources tell ms nbc, the first report he was careful to give this caveat, nothing is ever settled until president trump announces it. it's a controversial choice, actiax os reports steve bannon is against the selection. he met in the office an hour yesterday where he was offered the job. sean spicer has been pulling double duty and director since may when mike dubke resigned three months into the job. i will make you do a flashback to your former wife before you were a journalist, host, superstar, by way of communications director, talk about what is required to be a successful white house communications director and whether on the basis of your
knowledge anthony scaramucczy a food choice for the job. >> in this white house, we used to sort of operate in the guardrails of rolling out a strategy for a president pushing an agenda for which he was trying to build support in congress and the public, sometimes we came up short and the communication director manages the government after an outside event like attacks after 911, it's no secret, jared kushner and sort of his wing, his faction inside the white house has been very open about their displeasure with the current skillsets of the existing calm folks, it's no surprise a few name that is not sort of a candidate of reince and gannon's choosing would emerge. he became the leader of the free world and there was no
communications director. i don't know why you'd think being in the white house would be essential. >> my question is this, we all know mooch. he's a well known figure in new york, a good guy. why cuz he want this job? why would anybody want to be atuous communications director? if are you a rich guy from new york? what is he think something. >> you are there with the president of the united states what is he doing. >> >> are you retweeting him? >> his problem, the country's problem the world's problem is that the president is the communications director. >> right. >> he's his own communications director. it's bizarre, mike schmidt. hall of fame third baseman, still with us. i asked him yesterday, michael the idea, you, maggie, peter baker from the "time's" sitting in the oval office, if you read the entire transcript, of the interview. >> incredible. >> it is beyond bizarre, what
was your human reaction? well, maybe he didn't get what he was saying? i don't know, you tell us. >> the president is harder to follow than i thought he would be he tackles a lot of different things very quickly. as i was sitting here yesterday, there was a whole part where you looked at stuff he said about napoleon, i had morgan about that entire thing in the interview. >> that is my single favorite passage of the whole thing. >> there were so many different things that went on in the interview, they were in there about 50 minutes and he moved incredibly quickly, because i think from napoleon, we were quickly back on the economy and on to something else. you give a very difficult time pink him down and coming back to something. there are so many different interesting threadss or things you are not sure of or where
they came from or what they mean. so myself a first time trump interviewee or interviewing him for the first time, it was an interesting experience in trying to follow him and also trying to pin him down. we worked really hard on the mueller issue and on the russian investigation as the thing we focused most of our efforts and energy on. but we could have sat there for a long time. my guess and i don't know this, is that the president would have sat with us probably for another two hours if his aides allowed him. he seemed very much once he got going speaking with us and allow to us see the world through his eyes. >> coming up on ""morning joe,"" he was at vladimir putin's side during the russian meeting with president trump. now in an exclusive, sergei lavrov speaks out, our correspondent cheer skeir simmo
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811 is available to any business our or homeownerfe. to make sure that you identify where your utilities are if you are gonna do any kind of excavation no matter how small or large before you dig, call 811. keep yourself safe. . >> ten days ago nbc news foreign correspondent keir simmons had that infamous meeting with paul manafort and jared kushner and
other, now he sat down with russian foreign ministerer is day lavrov. he joins us now from moscow. >> reporter: hey, my comb, i think what was interesting here is they talked about whether the russians, the russian government supported the trump campaign, what you debt from this interview with the russian foreign minister is they are still supportive of president trump, even few like from a distance and you remember back at the g20, we know there were three meetings between president trump and president putin. one of those meetings only revealed this week, well, now,er is day lavrov suggests that perhaps there were other meetings between the two leaders. russian phone minister sergei lavrov was in the room when president trump met president putin for two hours this month. the two leaders had also met briefly to shake hands and later spoke at an official dinner after president putin was seated next to the first lady.
now asked if they interacted on other occasions at the g20? mr. lavrov is dismissive but does not deny the possibility. >> we know about president putin and president trump meeting three times in the g20. they met, obviously, for the bilateral at a dinner. >> maybe they went to the toilet towing, that was a fourth time. >> they metals when they were photographed shaking hands. that's my question, did they meet other times in the hallways? were there other questions they met? >> within are you brought by your parents to kindergarten, do you mix with people who are waiting in the same room to start going to a classroom with each other? >> this is the g20. >> but there is also a room where they get together at events before. they cannot arrive all at the same time on a bus. >> reporter: there is sergei lavrov's first u.s. interview following that meeting and following his controversial visit in may, where it was
alleged president trump shared sensitive u.s. intelligence with will lavrov. but the intelligence about an alleged isis plot to turn smartphones and defies i vices into bombs was not a secret sergei layoff rov explains. >> he was accused of telling mae secret about something which was discovered by special services. and which related to the ability of terrorists to manipulate with smartphones, notebooks the way which would allow explosives to be placed in those devices, but this very statement was made publicly either by fbi or ci aabout a month before i entered the oval office. >> reporter: he repeated russian denials it intervened in u.s. relation engage income a fight with american establishment.
>> the fight goes on, they want to make the life of this administration miserable. people try speak about impeachment. >> it's a fight. >> some is a fight. but as i said -- >> and russia is on president trump's side? >> no, we are on the side of justice. >> reporter: and in our interview, sergei lavrov describes two russian compounds seizure in the u.s. under the obama administration as straight forward robbery. of course the u.s. says those compounds were used for spying by the russians. while praising president trump, moscow has been threatening to expel u.s. diplomats over that issue. >> thank you. up next, we will have much more on the story who knows sergei lavrov perhaps better than any other american? former ambassador mcfaul. what happens when rex tillerson was ceo. that's coming up
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. >> welcome back to "morning joe" when asked about russian meddling in the elections, president trump typically responds the hacking could have been done by the rugs or other actors, concluding no one knows for sure, last night, cia director mike pomp pompeiio was asked about the election, this was his response. >> did russia intervene in our election? >> of course, a tornadoes one before that and the one before. that they have been at this a hell of a long time. they don't have intentions of backing off. >> joining us now, nbc news correspondent katy tur, department of defense now msmnc news national security analyst jeremy bash and professor of the political science and director of studies at stanford
university, former ambassador to russia michael mcfaul, ambassador, m ambassador mcfaul, this has been going on for check dazed according to cia director. what are your thoughts about what he said? >> i thought it was a flippant answer for a serious situation. i worked in the government for five years, i don't recall reading an intelligence report about russian interference in the previous elections. maybe he should clarify what he meant by that. there may be something on his mind, but to somehow suggest that what happened in 2016 is just standard operating procedure is flatly incorrect and i think he is just trying to monday 99 thor is yuszness to what we should be devoting to
january, 2016. >> do you agree with the ambassador? >> more pomptly i agree with the analyst intelligent assessment that this attack, this years attack was unprecedented scope and scale and, in particular, the use of cyber tools, hacking that is unprecedented. yes, they've engaged if propaganda, nothing to this extent. of course, we have never seen a presidential campaign potentially working with having foreknowledge of those russian efforts toer creed in an election. >> let me stay with you. we seen the donald trump interview with the "new york times" and reporting from the "time's" and the post. all sending unclear messages which is, robert mueller, stay away from my personal finances, this should just be about russia. now, i may be nuts. but it seems to me the intertwineing between donald trump and russia is precisely
the point. where do you think that is headed with the president sending these messages and mueller clearing them? >> a good point. it's also a national security and counter intelligence investigation, fundamentally he's trying to fog out what leverage they have over trump is a longstanding connection and intercedeing in the election and maybe compromising material. mueller will run down all three of those lanes. >> you spent time with donald trump more than any member of his family has. >> that's not true. >> katy was quick to deny that i noticed. what is your spence of where the president's minds is with all that? >> listen, i think it's very telling that the one thing he really seemed to raise. he raised a lot of alarm bells in that "new york times," the one thing that hit to me he cannot look at my personal finances, he cannot look at jared kushner's finances, he cannot look at the trump
organization or my son's, this has been a sensitive topic for him since going back forever. there is a reason he hasn't released his tax returns. why that is? we have speculated on a number of things. >> we know the answer. he has financial dependencys to russia. period to dirty parts of russia. it's not a question. there is no other explanation. you will start to see it unwind as we watch this. katy, i'd love to hear from your point of view? of course, he will fire mueller, he can't let it go down this path. he'd rather have several months of our democracy teetering because of a constitutional crisis of firing a special prosecutor than the focus of -- >> listen, the new york time reporters know what they're doing. they pressed him on what he meant by a violation or crossing a red line with mueller what he would, do i can tell you it won surprise me, if they got into
his finances the thing he is most concerned about, he is going to try and find a way to stop that. i would imagine. it's not just the russian leverage that may be in there. again, we don't know for sure, because we haven't seen them. those tax returns are locked away in a vault little rate with the irs. it is also a part donald trump believes will se. he has projected this image of being a successful billionaire, a businessman, somebody who could bring his personal success to the countries he got in the white house, that is a part of the reason he was elected. it was the core part of his pitch to the american people, if that is undercut, what does he have left? >> so the finances, that's the striking skroen zone, i take it, of course? >> that is the strike zone. i want to go back to mike mcfaul and ask you, ambassador mcfaul, you watched the interview our colleague keir simmons did with lavrov. there is no one at this table in
new york city whoever met lavrov or certainly spent time with him. you have. so what did you see that struck you of consequence or interest? >> well, first of all, the foreign minister lavrov or sergei continues to have his witty humor, that that bathroom comment is like reminiscent of any flippant kind of arguments and sometimes jokes that he would try to make t. second thing, though, frustration. i think by this time in the trump presidency, we're already six months in, that they thought that they were going to be achieving more of their objectives than u.s.-russian relations. the honest answer is they haven't gotten anything yet. they've had promise, illusions to things that might happen. first and foremost the lifting of sanctions, so far they've gotten very little in return. going back to november, they thought this was going to be a big break through in terms of
concessions. you we heard that frustration, illusions to the deep state and people trying to stop him were there on the side of justice, we're all on the side of stopping trump. >> so ambassador mcfaul, when you consider president putin and ambassador rather secretary lavrov in the same room with president trump and secretary tillerson, are we looking at a mismatch there? >> reporter: i thought it was a mismatch. i thought it was a tactical mistake for the president to not have more people in the room. he should have had a national security adviser in his room. that's standard protocol. be i the way that undermines hr mcmaster the national security adviser in his own bureaucracy, he doesn't make the cuts for that meeting. he shoved the national adviser. that's a job i used to have. her name is fiona hymn. she is very confident. knows putin well, knows russia and would have been a good note-taker. just remember, putin has been
doing this for 17 years. this is not his first rodeo, this is not his first president. he knows these issues home, even the best of students of u.s.-russia relations rolling into that meeting after just six months in the white house would be at a disadvantage, why go into a meeting like that when are you already at a disadvantage by not having your full team in place? >> hey, mike, it's jeremy bash. i want do ask you a question. we learned this week that with regards to the program that the intelligence community was reportedly conduct income syria to support anti--assad forces which is, of course, a program that the russians hated, donald trump and the white house cancelled it. isn't that a major concession the trump administration handed to vladimir putin? >> reporter: actually, jeremy, i'm glad you brought that up. >> that is a big major concession, agree entirely. i don't know the details of that program. you would probably know better
than i. most certainly for years while i was ambassador, every single meeting that anybody on our side had with either putin on lavrov, this program came up and most certainly, whether it was effective or not, i can't judge, but the symbolism of them chance selling it, that is a win for the russian without reference. >> secretary of state tillerson the treasury department says sex on mobile violated sanctions imposed on russia when rex tillerson now secretary of state was in charge of the company. c nbc's dom new chu has -- domenic chu has more. >> reporter: the treasury department fired the exxon giant reckless disregard with relations with russia in 2014. that was when current secretary of state rex tillerson was ceo of exxonmobile t. dealings in question relate to a joint venture with russian state
controlled oil company. exxon says the fight is quote capricious and unlawful. but perspective, guys, $2 million is not a drop in the buck for exxonmobile, which made nearly $8 billion in profits last year alone. speaking of regulations, wall street banking executives could be resting easier enit comes to that washington agenda. the trump agenda released the twice a year plans yesterday. it looks like prior plans to restrict wall street bonuses and incentive pay packages has gone to the back burner. those plans were in the works under the obama administration as a part of the dowd frank laws helping reform the banking system. we will cap things off with a look at amazon.com t. internet retail giant hit another record high yesterday. it is reportedly facing scrutiny on pricing practices and allegations it misleads customers on the extent of
discounts it offers in other amazon news, shares of sears surged yesterday after news it will sell its ken more applia e appliances on amazon doing e.com, meanwhile, shares of home depot and lowes, they took a hit because of excesstive concerns over appliance sales, finally, we learned amazon spent $3.2 million in lobbying last quarter. if they keep this pace up, they will spend $12 million this year, mike, it's fair to say amazon has a lot of different things to lobby for these days. >> domenic chu, thank you very much, it's amazon and the rest of the world. paed mcfaul, before we let you go, let me ask you the exxon fine, it's tip money $2 million. what is the extent of rex tillerson's influence in russia? his impact on russia and on putin. was it lasting? was it significant?
>> well, that deal that was just described the joint venture between exxonmobile. i we heard president putin tell president obama that was the most significant event in u.s.-russian relations in decades. so that gives you an -- by the way, he was personally involved in making that deal. and he kind of was joke around with the president, thanks, for working on this, not understanding that in our system, any president does not get involved in putting together those deals, but it was, 2 million. they're playing the long game there in 2014, i remember it vividly. i remember that company well. they were willing as you sa i for them, this is small change, if are you talking about hundreds of billions of dollar deal over decades and they fully expect that some day sanctions will be lifted and they'll be back on track. and, you know, now their former ceo is secretary of state. so that probably was a wise bet. >> mike mcfaul as always, that
>> i want to thank all of the loyal people because i have such loyal unbelievable people. we have great people. we have the most loyal people. loyalty can be a wonderful thing. and you know what else they say about my people? the polls. they say i have the most loyal people. here's the thing, i'm a loyal person. i'm a loyal person. okay? i'm a loyal person. you have to be loyal to people. >> he talks about loyalty so much i'm frankly surprised he didn't fill his cabinet with golden retrievers. >> the identities of the people who attended pa the meeting between donald trump jr. and the russians keep coming out and it's making some people until washington very nervous so they're coming forward with their alibis to prove they weren't there. check out what they had to say. chris christie said i was busy shutting down coney island so i could ride the cyclone by myself. mike pence said he spent a romantic evening with the wife slow dancing to white noise. and finally, melania trump said i'd say i was with donald but no one would believe me. there we go! >> funny stuff.
all morning long we've been digging into these reports that the trump administration appears to be laying the groundwork to undermine the mueller investigation. there were even reports the president is beginning to inquire about his pardon authority. joining us to sort through all of this is nbc chief legal correspondent and host of "the beat," which debuts this monday at 6:00 p.m. here at msnbc. ari melber, congratulations. >> thank you. great to be here. >> a title now. >> how does that work? how would it work? >> well, let's start with the basings. if you're talking about a pardon of anyone, you are talking about someone who committed a crime, in this case, a federal offense, which is what the presidential pardon power governs. so it's bad to be talking about pardoning your friends and terrible to be talking or considering pardoning yourself. having said that, in fairness to the white house, this is a "washington post" report among others that talks about reviewing and lawyers off listen review every single option. they look at the menu. they ask what's off the menu,
what's in the back of the kitchen. that's what good lawyering does. in fairness, that may not mean we're on the precipice of a pardon. to your question, the pardon power is absolute and unilateral. the president has enormous authority to pardon anyone for any federal offense even before they're prosecuted. >> basic question, not a legal question. human question. okay? i know we have the presumption of innocence in this country, it's inviolable and very important. who starts thinking about pardoning who he isn't like kind of think they're guilty? if you know you're innocent, does it cross your mind that you should be exploring your pardon authority? >> i think you're nailing the point. the problem we started with. if you foul out of the game, you had six fouls, right? that's what we're talking about. way more than six fouls. we're talking about a power that is used for murderers or rapists or tax evasion indictments. we're talking ak power that only
is used typically after indictment although sometimes earlier. there have been cases, the nixon case the most classic example. but this is about crime. so it's very hard to go deep down that road and not have cri crimes. and if you didn't commit an offense, you don't need a pardon. having said all that, i want to be careful, this is a report at what lawyers are looking at, what conversations are being had with the president. this is not a tweet as we sometimes see that says i'm going to do this. >> reporting suggs that the president is making inquiries about the extent of his -- >> they are discussing it. >> right. >> we should point out one of trump's attorney, the great john dowd, telling savannah guthrie, this story is not true, it is nonsense. the president's lawyers are cooperating with special counsel robber mueller on behalf of the president. jeremy, you had an interesting observation about the whole pardon thing that it does not end any investigation. >> that's right. article 2 section 2 of the constitution says the president has the power to grant reprieves and pardons except in the cases
of impeachment. so in the game of constitutional poker, a pardon can be an indictment but impeachment can be a pardon. meaning the mueller investigation can go forward and present a report to congress and they can enact impeachment proceedings and conviction based on that mueller investigation. >> more like rock paper scissors. >> a little. >> let's be clear, nothing we're talking about with mueller stops the congress from exercising its oversight function which includes that power. >> i want to say that donald trump can't necessarily just fire -- we were talking about this -- robert mueller for any reason whatsoever. he doesn't have that authority. ari but pointing that out in our internal e-mails today. it has to be for cause. the question to you, is having financial conflict of interest or donating to a democratic candidate in the past, does that constitute enough of a conflict for donald trump to have cause to fire mueller or anyone on his legal team? >> absolutely not. i mean, we have, you know, decades of precedent on what
constitutes cause in this scenario. it would be showing up to work drunk or dereliction of duty, not showing up at all. there's nothing in bob mueller's record or public evidence to show he's anywhere near cause. with regard to your question about that, there are ways you can say i think the prosecutor has a political relationship. they found jeff sessions had one and he had to recuse. you can recuse or remove individual prosecutors in the job. you would not fire mueller over this. >> what donald trump is doing ands has done effectively is that you undercut their credibility in the public court of opinion, not necessarily legally. just make sure the public and his supporters don't believe anything they come up with. that way he insulates himself. >> make sense? >> in this white house it makes sense. anyone that understands this president is going to have an easier time trying to convey his message. that being said, it is donald trump, it is never easy to figure out what in the world hess thinking or doing from moment to moment. >> one big wrinkle in this
investigation, this inquiry, the mueller past inquiries into other presidents, the intelligence aspect of it. >> unlike watergate and white water, this is a national security investigation, a counterintelligence investigation. so even if all criminal liability is wiped away, mueller still has the writ to investigate how american national security was compromised by russia and potential collusion. >> that's a big one. >> that's not small. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thank you so much, mine mike barnicle. the white house reportedly targeting robert mueller and his team, the purpose to discredit the investigation. >> look, there are so many conflicts that everybody has. >> pardon me. the a new report says the president is looking into his
pardon powers to pardon aides, family members, even himself. and the president's main lawyer, the original on russia, now out, and a familiar face to our viewers and wall street now in as communications head. plus, a new nbc news exclusive. russia's foreign minister one-on-one suggesting vladimir putin and president trump may have met more times than already reported. >> we know about president putin and president trump meeting three times. >> maybe they went to the toilet together. new twists in the russia investigation. the investigation that won't go away. the white house reportedly preparing to hit back. we have a great team with us to break it all down. taking you first to kristen welker, who is live at the white house. kristen, three big he lines on a friday in july. i want to start with reports that the white house looking for information to discredit the special counsel. this is not new news. several weeks