tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC July 29, 2017 9:00am-9:30am PDT
it's earned in every wash, and re-earned every day. tide, america's #1 detergent hey there, good day, everyone, i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarters in new york. it's high noon here in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. we have new reaction today on the white house shakeup. some republicans say they were shocked by some of the president's tweets and that recent profanity-laced attack from new white house communications chief anthony scaramucci. here's what gop congressman charlie dent told me earlier. >> i'd be less than honest with you if i didn't say that a lot of my republican colleagues are very concerned about this. we clearly -- we want to get on with the business of this country, and like some of us right now are actually talking about doing things in a
bipartisan nature on health care, coming up with some ideas that will probably be announced on monday so we have a lot going on, but it's hard to break through on those types of issues if we're talking about the latest drama in the white house. >> meanwhile, white house officials are hoping now that reince priebus is out, incoming chief of staff general john kelly will bring discipline and order to the west wing. >> many of us are very excited about this new infusion of energy and discipline, and i can just speak for myself. even if that means that there is more protocol, there's more pecking order and that there's less regular access in and out of the oval office. >> general kelly is expected to begin his new role on monday. no word yet on a replacement permanently for him at the department of homeland security. we'll get right to our big interview. we have senator al franken, democrat of minnesota and a member of the judiciary committee. he's author of "al franken, giant of the senate."
welcome back to 30 rock, your home away from home i think in many regards. >> well, i enjoy being on msnbc and i do recall being here for 15 seasons with "snl." yeah. >> we're going to get right to the white house shakeup. do you think it is fair to say that this is part of president trump's attempt to get away from certain facets of washington? he said he ran as an outsider. he's going to bring in outsiders. because this grand experiment of working with political insiders in washington does not appear to have worked. >> he was working with political insiders, not so much, but some. i don't know what this is. i mean i respect general kelly, i voted for him for homeland security, and he's got -- he'll still be -- it all comes from the top. that's what i like to say in my office anyway. >> i'm sure it applies there. how about anthony scaramucci, how does he fit into this
outside the beltway mentality? can you at least understand why the president might have brought him in after all? basically this is a guy, he's played both sides of the aisle, right? he's donated to the clinton campaign, donated to the obama campaign, so this is an outsider. >> yeah. you know -- >> way outside? >> it depends what kind of outsider you bring in. so far i haven't found him impressive. the remarks he made to ryan lizza at the "new yorker," you know, he's head of the white house communications operation and he doesn't know that if you talk to a reporter and he wants it to be off the record, you say this is off the record, right? and then you can say the things he said, if you don't care if that reporter respects you or not after going further. but that's crazy. this is the head of white house
communications operations didn't know that you -- and then he said that stuff. >> but there was so many who tried to either defend him or at least put that into context. i remember sarah huckabee sanders saying in a news conference after that profanity-laced tirade, she said, well, you know, this is a guy who's got strong opinions and he's outspoken and that sort of thing. so what do you think of people who try to put him into context that way? >> you can express strong opinions in different ways. those, i think, are inappropriate for the head of communications from the white house, and i think everybody knows it. >> okay. let's talk about jeff sessions here. what happens if the president fires him, because there is a theory that has been floated, this by former white house secretary dana perino. >> republicans and conservatives that came to jeff sessions'
defense this week all said but he's doing the best on the issue we care about the most and that's immigration. where can jeff sessions do even more as immigration? as the secretary of homeland security. so i think that what they're going to try to do -- sessions over to dhs -- >> yahtzee. >> and how can the conservatives complain? and then you have a new a.g. he thinks can then fire mueller. >> i've got to say this idea of moving sessions over to dhs was another idea floated to me by jeremy peters on my broadcast, saving the part about firing mueller. that part was not discussed. but how do you think democrats would respond -- >> saving that part. >> yeah, we don't know what would happen for sure. but in terms of moving him, how would democrats respond if sessions moves from a.g. to dhs? >> i think this whole idea -- look, i have real problems with jeff sessions. i voted against him for a.g. he responded to questions of mine not truthfully.
i have real, real problems and i think he needs to come before the judiciary committee. >> again? >> yeah. once, since it's his confirmation hearing, it would be for the first time since those statements that he made -- he said he had not had communications with the russians and it turned out he did. there seems to be a collective amnesia on russians when it comes to the trump administration. so he needs to explain himself in that. all that said, this idea of getting him out of the way so that the president can fire mueller is something that i think would, if the president goes through with that, would create a constitutional crisis. >> so do you want to ask him about that? that exchange with you during his confirmation hearing was pretty tense. so what would you want to ask him now? because you want him back. >> i want to ask why he didn't correct himself. he said -- i asked him -- he didn't answer my question. i asked him essentially would he
recuse himself if it turned out that members of the trump team had had contact with the russians during the campaign. and instead of answering my question, he said that i didn't have contact with russians during the campaign. then it turned out seven weeks later it was revealed that he did with kislyak and now it looks like he had a third meeting. and that's when he recused himself. he didn't recuse himself until then. he has said some contradictory things about that. i want him before the committee and i want to ask him about why he didn't -- he knew he had met with kislyak. he could have created -- corrected himself any time before it was "the washington post" revealed it. >> when someone says, though, i forgot, how do you combat that? >> well, he didn't forget. he said that, you know, he said on second thought i should have had more patience and just said,
oh, yeah, i met with kislyak. well, that meant he remembered. and now he just talks around it by saying i never had contact with russians during the campaign about the campaign interfering with the campaign. so he's changed his story. i want him in front of our committee. and so does -- so does chairman grassley, more importantly, probably. >> do you think jeff sessions is a good man who deserves better, or do you think he is not a good man but were the president to fire him, then the president would be going too far removing him from a.g.? >> i'm not going to -- only god can make that judgment. but i don't -- i don't think -- if the president fires him in
order to clear the way to firing the special prosecutor, that either will create a constitutional crisis or we will in the senate and house just pass a new special prosecutor law and put mueller back in, i would think. >> with regard to the subpoenas issued by the senate judiciary committee to paul manafort and donald trump jr. to come and appear, it was my understanding that was supposed to happen sometime this week. heard nothing about that. what's the status there? >> we haven't actually issued a subpoena for donald junior, but we've been talking to both. they are going to testify to members of the staff and members of the committee. we also have documents, they're cooperating on providing documents.
but we reserve the right, and i feel that they should both testify publicly before a judiciary. >> to hear what questions from you? >> i want to hear, oh, did you meet with any other russians? because there seems to be this collective amnesia among members of the trump administration, the trump family. you know, the reason i feel so strongly about the special prosecutor is that mueller is incredibly well respected. i believe he's going to get to the bottom of this. so we'll see where it goes. so i'm not prejudging this, but this is part of our job as a judiciary committee certainly. >> there are a lot of people who feel the way you do about bob mueller, but he has taken a lot of heat for leaking information that he wanted made public. where do you stand on that? >> i'm not aware of that. >> well, it is alleged, you've heard about the allegations,
correct, that he leaked information to a reporter so that it would get out there after he had left the office as fbi director. >> that's comey. >> comey, yes, i'm sorry. i meant to say comey. >> oh, oh. >> because we were talking about mueller. >> we were talking about mueller. but mueller replacing comey. with comey, he's a guy who also was a titan in washington, d.c. >> well, wait a minute, first of all, he didn't leak anything, he gave some information -- you don't leak stuff that isn't classified. so he just gave it to a friend who gave it to some reporters because the president had said he better hope there's been no tape recordings of our conversations, which is his -- which is trump's way of saying what he said is false and what he gave to a friend were contemporaneous notes. and contemporaneous notes are very commonly accepted in court as reliable testimony. so that's all he did. he didn't leak any classified
information or anything like that. >> all right. what about the trump family, because we all got to hear from jared kushner earlier this week. do you take him at his word? do you think there's no more there, there? >> no, i mean -- no. he has had to refile his disclosure form a number of times. i've written a letter asking for at least to suspend his security clearance. i think -- who knows, this may come down to what did the president know and when did his son-in-law tell him. >> how do you find that out? >> well, we have this guy, bob mueller. >> and the expectations -- >> and he'll find that out. what happens very often is that people commit crimes along the way, either in the cover-up or had before and they plea bargain.
part of that is you get information out. that's how it normally happens. now, i'm not prejudging this at all. i'm saying that we should be -- that i'm looking forward to starting to work in a bipartisan way on shoring up the exchanges, making the exchanges in the aca stronger, bringing down health care costs, bringing down -- especially pharmaceutical costs. everyone knows they have spiked. there's ways that we can bring those down. i have a comprehensive bill to do that. we need to be doing that in regular order. in the health, education, labor and pension committee. i look forward to working with chairman alexander and all my other republican colleagues. >> do you think the failure to repeal and replace could actually heparins in the long run in some factor? the fact that their policy, such as it was, didn't have a lot of public approval? >> yeah. it depends which poll you're
looking at. but it was 17%. there were some at 12%. look, they had seven plus years to come up with a strategy to repeal and replace. everything they proposed was terrible. everything they proposed took insurance away from millions and millions and millions of americans and raised costs. it may be the best thing that happened to them that senators collins, murkowski and mccain voted against it. >> did you know what mccain was going to do? were you surprised by that? >> i wasn't surprised in the moment. i was watching body language. there seemed to be a moment when the vice president left the floor. you may remember in the last vote, he presided over that whole vote. and when he left the floor, i felt that, you know, it was a
nice moment, though. >> why do you think he did that? >> well, when he gave his speech after -- i mean here's a guy who was just diagnosed with brain cancer. he flies in to take a vote. after the vote says, look, we should probably do this in regular order. i'm not happy with anything i'm seeing right now. i'll vote no against what i'm seeing. so it shouldn't have been a surprise. you know, he did say we should go to regular order. that's how we should get things done here. and i could see someone who gave that same speech voting no then. but he gave his colleagues, his republican colleagues a chance to come up with something. and everything they came up with was just dreadful. and this thing was hardly could even be called the bill. so it's not surprising that he voted no. i think that senator collins and senator murkowski both deserve
tremendous credit because they were staunch. >> they did not waver. >> and senator murkowski received some pressure that i think -- she's not a transactional senator. she is here trying to make good public policy. i have tremendous respect for lisa murkowski and for senator collins, but i think they -- they couldn't have played it worse with her probably. >> there are a few new books out. you have one we're going to talk about, but hillary clinton has one as well. and hers is called "what happened." it's about the campaign. what do you think happened? that should be coming out shortly, that book, but what do you think happened? >> well, i think that's why -- before it comes out, there could be a question mark after that. i think it would be a better title. well, i think a lot of things
happened and i think one of the things that happened was that polling was such and i believe that she felt that she was going to win. i even think donald trump thought she was going to win. and i think they played it safe and they thought they had -- all they had to do was keep talking about trump and they'd win. i do think that the comey decision 11 days before the election and i do think that the russian hacking but not just the hacking but then releasing all this -- this is where fake news came from in the cycle of fake news was, you know, a thousand trolls from russia putting out fake news. so, yeah, the podesta e-mails are leaked, but was there anything really damaging in them? no. but they made fake things like they put out in and a lot of people believed that hillary clinton and her campaign manager
had a child sex ring under a pizza place. >> that was shocking. that was crazy. >> well, a lot of people thought that is shocking. that's terrible that she would have a child sex ring below a pizza thing. >> it was shocking that it was said. >> i know that. but this got into -- they were very -- they used very sophisticated knowledge of where to send this out, this news, and that's going to be one of the questions in this investigation, the mueller investigation is, it's a question, whether there was cooperation between the trump campaign and the russians in terms of the data about where to send this. >> i'm so excited to read this book, "al franken, giant of the senate."
what can i most look forward to besides laughing, which i have done very heartily thus far. >> well, i think you'll have to decide for yourself after you read it whether i in fact am a giant of the senate. it basically answers some of the questions that i've been getting. maybe the question i get asked most is being az senat senator fun as working on "saturday night live." and the answer, of course, is no. no, why should it be? but it's still the best job i've ever had because you get to accomplish things. for example, the affordable care act, which has expanded coverage and care for over 20 million people. we have some weaknesses in it that we wanted to address all along but couldn't get our republican colleagues to do it. i now look forward to being able to do that. a lot of people ask me how you make the transition from someone who worked in this building on the 17th floor and on the 8th
floor and now i'm here talking to you on the 3rd floor as a senator, how i made that transition. and then i talk about my colleagues. and i have great friendships -- lindsey graham, great guy, very funny. when he was running 15th out of 17th in the republican primaries, i said to him, lindsey, if i were a republican i'd vote for you in the primaries, and he said that's my problem. >> thank you so much. it was a great honor to talk with you. so much fun as well. >> lovely talking to you. >> this book is going to be awesome on the plane today, thank you. >> it's a great plane ride. anybody traveling anywhere, get that for the plane ride. >> more reaction to the crazy week in washington coming up next. mom, i have to tell you something. dad, one second i was driving and then the next... they just didn't stop and then... i'm really sorry.
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trumpcare fails again. why it keeps failing, what the president can still do to sabotage the current law of the land. >> and it's a new race to the stars with rivalries that are as contentious as the superpowers once were, only today space race pits billionaire entrepreneurs against each other, and the sky's the limit. >> it's saturday and i'm ali velshi, what a week. >> what a week. i am stephanie ruhle. a week of drama in washington with president trump's closest