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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  July 31, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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day, the mooch is no more. the spectacular fall of anthony scaramucci as communication attention director in no small part because he communicated with a reporter using language we can't repeat. with a reporter using language we can't repeat. in short a big day on day 1 for the new chief of staff, the 11th hour, gets under way right now. a monday night and good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 193 of the trump administration. anthony scaramucci is out as white house communications director, ten days after he first walked into the briefing room podium announcing his arrival. and yet it is not even our lead story here tonight. something else has come up as it often does in the form of a "washington post" story. indicating the president may be in greater legal jeopardy than first imagined. the headline is this.
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trump dictated his son's misleading statement on the meeting with the russian lawyer. it says that while lawyers wanted the statement to be truthful, there was a change of course at the president's direction. the post is reporting trump personally dictated the statement on air force one while flew back from germany while he had met with putin the first time. the peace reads in part -- the extent of the president's personal intervention in his son's response, the details of which have not previously been reported adds to a series of actions that trump has taken that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy. it goes on to quote peter zidenberg, the deputy special prosecutor who investigated the george w. bush administration's leak of cia operative valerie plame's identity. that's saying a lot. here's the quote. the thing that strikes me about in is the stupidity of involving
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the president. they are still treating this like a family-run business. and they have a p.r. problem. what they don't seem to understand is this is a criminal investigation involving all of them. the news of donald trump's jr. meeting broke a little more than three weeks ago. nbc news later confirmed there were eight people inside the room where it happened. that meeting at trump tower, including a translator. when it comes to trump dictating the response in to the story. trump junior's lawyer told "the post" he had no evidence to support that theory. one of trump's lawyers told nbc news tonight's story was fake news, incorrect, and misinformed, of no consequence. a second jay sekulow told the post apart from being of no sequence the characterizations are ms. informed inaccurate and not pertinent. and it was that very lawyer who defended the president on tv after the story broke.
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>> the president was not -- did not draft the response. the response was -- came from donald trump junior. i'm sure in consultation with his lawyer. let me say this, the president -- i do want to be clear the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. it came from donald trump junior. that's what i can tell you because that's what we know. the president didn't sign off off anything. he was coming back from the g20. the statement released on saturday was released by donald trump jr. i'm sure in consultation withes his lawyers. the president wasn't involved in that. >> "the new york times" says he was involved in it, several people on the plane were involved. >> that's incorrect. >> so the president was not involved. he says all of this breaking just an hour and a half after the president wrote on twitter, it was a great day at the white house. good point to bring in tonight's starting panel. senior foreign affairs correspondent for politico michael crowley here with us in new york. white house reporter for the associated press, vivian salama.
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and chief ethics lawer to former president george bush, richard painter returns. he teaches law at the university of minnesota. welcome to you all, michael you're our reality assessment. how big a bombshell is this? >> well it's big, brian. but it's also part of a pattern. i think what's significant is the way this pattern is coming into clearer focus. look, on the underlying substance of whether there was collusion, whether the russians directly influenced the trump campaign, i think the jury is still out. some democrats are placing hopes in the idea there is a smoking gun. we don't know that yet. where we see mounting and i think quite damning evidence is without knowing what the underlying infraction may have been we are seeing a pattern of or few -- obfuscation, deception changing and conflicting stories on the part of the president and people at the white house, that sure looks like the behavior of people who are trying to hide something.
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what doesn't add up about the russia story, even though we haven't proven direct kremlin influence and collusion in the campaign -- and again that investigation is ongoing -- what is looking clear now is there have been several significant efforts to shut this thing down to mislead the public. you have to ask yourself, why would people not guilty of anything be acting as though they have something to hide? and so this is the latest significant break-in that pile that causes you to step back and ask that fundamental question. >> vivian this may call for a judgment on your part, i don't know. think about general kelly. we can assume he had a conversation with the president about the conditions he would need met to take this job at a fraught time for a fraught presidency. one of them perhaps, all routes of reporting to the oval office go through me. that's quite common for a chief of staff. do you think he also asked -- is there anything more you guys are expecting? because general kelly hardly
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made it home for dinner tonight before this dropped. >> general kelly is not someone who messes around. he is no nonsense. if he was taking this job he certainly would have asked at least what he was signing on to. this "washington post" story that broke today is basically the manifestation of everything we've seen in the last couple of weeks in terms of just the advice that the president has been getting, the type of advisers he has been surrounding himself with and the misdirection this white house has undertaken since january. and so you have the situation where the president is also a very -- he has his stubborn tendencies where he likes to do things his own way and tends to do them erratically without consulting people. but also just the fact that he has certain people around him that are not sort of pulling him off the ledge and saying you can't do this, this is going to further implicate you, this is
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going to be a problem for you to do so in a convincing manner. that's really what's been so problematic in this white house. general kelly is somebody who many believe does have influence on the president. he respects the generals believes in them and he really takes advice to heart. to see if he can get the president to tone down some of his involvement in this, that's going be thing interesting thing moving forward. >> richard with the proviso innocent until proven guilty what this is as of now it's a "washington post" story. for this to be a crime, for this to be obstruction, capitol "o" or small "o,," it seems to me you would have to prove authorship of the statement we know to be wrong. and you'd have to prove intent, that it was meant as a smoke screen to throw people off the trail, correct? >> well, as part of a pattern of obstruction of justice, that's what would have to be proven. and there is a pattern. we go back to the firing of
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james comey and other reasons of course being offered for the firing of james comey. and then very quickly thereafter the president said to the russian ambassador right there in the oval office that he fired him in connection with the russia investigation. we have repeated instances of obstruction of justice. this being yet one more. i have to say this looks more and more like a cover-up. but it's one of the most psychologically deranged and incompetent coverups in political history. how they can't keep the president airway from the russia investigation. i don't know why they can't keep him away from it, stop tweeting and drafting false statements in connection with it. and firing people and then threatening to fire his attorney general just last week so he could replace bob mueller. if this story is true, that the president of the united states intentionally drafted a false
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statement by his son in connection with a criminal investigation, i think that's it. he should do the dignified thing and resign his office if this story is true. and give mike pence a chance to run the country and calm things down for 3 1/2 years. we've had enough. if this is true the president drafted a lie in connection with a criminal investigation he has got to go. >> and richard, you have every reason to believe that mueller was either aware of this or certainly is on top of this and this will be one of those topics that gets -- concentrates his mind. >> oh, i would think so. along with the firing of james comey and along with what happened in that meeting with the trump tower, and everything else that's going on. this has been now about seven months of an investigation of the interference by the russians
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with the 2016 election. it's an investigation that donald trump as president could have kept his hands off of. he didn't have to tweet about it, didn't have to talk about it, didn't have to engage in obstruction of justice. he could have allowed this investigation to take its course. and he chose not to. and this is a mistake very similar to the mistake richard nixon made in connection with watergate. but it's -- i have to say a lot more psychologically deranged when you look at the tweets and statements and the obsession with hillary, you wonder what's going on there. the attempt to deflect the anger that the american people have about this on the losing condition. that's only appealing to a small sliver of the electorate. the president is not living in the real world in connection with what's going on here with the russia investigation. and quite a few other things as well.
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>> michael let's talk about the real world. and take us back contemporaneously when the president who has said to have dealt with this on the ground in germany, saying nothing of the flight home from the g20. this was a high wire act. sadly we as taxpayers will not know what was discussed in that putin meeting because there was no note taker. there was only a russian interpreter when trump and putin had a pull aside meeting where by the way the president told us they talked about adoption. >> yeah. >> so this is -- this is some important business on a plane where, coming home from the first meeting as president with the russian leader, maybe you'd have an after action brief with state department, national security staff. instead it sounds like the office space in the front of that aircraft was occupied by this. >> yeah. and you don't get any sign that he has had a learning curve when it comes to russia. there was a school of thought that said donald trump is naive about vladimir putin.
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he sees in putin a tough guy, a strong man. he tells me what to do and they do it. he's friends with a lot of rich russians. and trump likes that. maybe he will get into office and learn what putin is about. what the russian policy is about. the cynicism and subterfuge of russia. there is no evidence of a learning curve. you put your finger on the key points which is that trump repeated this line about adoption saying putin wanted to talk to him about adoptions. it's such a naive thing to say. to keep repeating the russians just want to talk about adoptions as you've made clear on this show, adoptions is code for the magnitsky act which is a way of saying u.s. sanctions against human rights abuses in russia. at some point you have to ask yourself the troubling question, does it not get through to him? does he not understand it?
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or is he just completely complicit in something hard to understand right now. but both options are pretty troubling. i would just say finally, brian, trump talks about all the enemies out to get him on the russia story, the democrats out to get him, the liberal media, the deep state. this man is his own worst enemy. his lawyers have to be pulling out their hair. they cannot defend a guy who will not take legaled advice, who keeps tweeting about matters that are under investigation that could put him in legal jeopardy. and it seems like every day he brings himself closer and closer to the brink of real deep legal trouble that his lawyers can't save him from. a guy with that much money who occupies the oval office ought to have the best legal defense in the world but he won't let it work for him. >> richard, you tweeted something that got our attention today. danger signs in any presidency. lots of generals and civilian posts, authoritarian rhetoric, disdain for judges.
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bigger risk in time of war. on top of that we have the president's lawyers tonight using that insidious label fake news. >> well, this is a very -- very troubling situation. to have the president of the united states repeatedly attacking the media, attacking his political opponent who lost the election calling for prosecution of hillary clinton, and surrounding himself with more generals in the white house. and he goes to the boy scouts and he is give thing highly charged political speech in front of uniformed teenagers as if he wants to turn that into some sort of trump youth organization. i mean the signs of -- of authoritarianism are staring us in the face. if we don't acknowledge that this is a risky situation, and
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we continue to put up with this, what we could find is that if we are in a war or if the president wants to get us into a war, in order to solidify his control, that he could very, very quickly try to make himself into an authoritarian president or dictator. and this is not a safe situation for the united states. congress, democrats and republicans together need to get a handle on how to deal with donald trump. as i say there are psychological issues here. he does not appear to be very well in the way he is responding to the matters. and all the warning signs are there. we saw that throughout the campaign. but it's gotten worse and worse. and now he is being cornered on the russia investigation. and that's where you are most likely to have trouble. meanwhile we've got a nuclear threat in korea. and he is the person who has the power to decide how to respond to that.
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and i'm -- i'm quite frankly quite scared about in situation right now. >> as we keep saying no ordinary time for very good reason. vivian has agreed to stick around i'm coming to you after the break because we are changing topic to the guest, however and in our initial panel our great thanks. michael crowley, vivian salama, richard painter. terrific conversation. coming up it was 8:28 a.m. when the president wrote on twitter, no white house chaos. more on the other breaking story today, the short but not unmemorable tenure of one anthony scaramucci when "the 11th hour" continues. hi.
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welcome back to "the 11th hour." communications director anthony scaramucci is the latest high profile member of the trump administration to leave unexpectedly. just 25 days into president trump's term, you may recall his national security adviser mike flynn resigned. day 110, trump fired fisher director james comey. day 183, press secretary sean spicer resigned. six days later on day 189, chief of staff reince priebus resigned. now day 193 communication director anthony scaramucci is out. here is how the white house answered questions today about the number of high level departures. >> we have seen the chief of staff, the deputy chief of
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staff, handful of communications directors, a press secretary and national security adviser all leave in the first six months of this administration. can you tell us a little bit about why there's been all this turbulence? i know you don't like to get into the process. but all the things together what's going on? >> look we're continuing to focus on the president's agenda. we're going to have staff changes. we let you guys know when they happen. like i said earlier what matters to us are not the jobs that are within this building but the the ones outside of there. >> joining our conversation here in the studio jonathan remere white house reporter for the associated press. his piece tonight, kelly shows his clout, scaramucci out as white house chief moves in. his colleague at the associated press vivian salama remains with us from washington. so jonathan, i'm looking at a grease piece of writing, the communication director's tenure was the stuff of shakespearean drama, though brief enough to be just a morbid sonnet. think about it this way --
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spicer leaves because the mooch is coming. priebus leaves after the mooch arrived. now kelly arrives and the mooch is gone. 11 days. >> yeah, it's pretty remarkable. occasionally the white houses brings in poetry. but in this crowd -- >> you're being too modest. >> scaramucci burst onto the scene 11 days ago with that 37-minute charm offensive that he seemed to be the new power player in this white house. a few days later in an interview with a reporter at the new yorker" he uses vulgar terms to describe the chief of staff, reince priebus, the chief strategist steve bannon. we know initially the president was okay with this. he didn't mind it the shots across the bow particularly on priebus. but this is a president who is very mindful of the media coverage. we know in the days following he grew less and less happy with the negative tone of the coverage of this. so did important people around
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him including ivanka, jared kushner, steve bannon. when john kelly was named chief of staff, right from that moment it was very clear that scaramucci -- was mot going to continue to have this sort of access to the president and then as of today no access to the president at all. and at least not in his white house job. >> so vivian, is it fair to judge the administration of chief of staff kelly by looking to see what happens or not tomorrow morning between, say, 7 and 10:00 a.m.? if twitter is silent, if america is safe and if it's a quiet morning, quiet tuesday, midsummer morning in america, do you think there will have been change enacted. >> well, john and i and our colleagues pretty much learned we never try to predict anything too far ahead. it's hard to say what his impact will be in the long-term. about you you in the short-term like i said in the previous segment he general kelly is a no nonsense person. an iraq war veteran.
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he has seen his share of wars and battles. and he is coming into the situation already prepared. we have done some reporting previously when he was still holding the position as secretary of homeland security where he and general mattis, the defense secretary were really surprised and shocked by the rollout of the executive order for the immigration ban and the travel ban. they agreed with each other that they wouldn't leave the country at the same time so that one of them would always kind of be around in case there were anymore surprises like that one. so i think that he and general mattis have been operating with that in mind, that this is a very unpredictable president, and they as military men have to really be ready for everything. for him coming into the white house i think just based on what he has seen so far, he has been operating on that notion. and he is coming into the situation knowing he has to brace for anything. the question is maybe he may be able to shape up conduct in the
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west wing, crack down on leaks, crack down on misbehavior he sees and streamline policies. but can he control the president when he has his phone at 6:30 in the morning or on a saturday morning when he is just not there? that remains to be seen. and really we have haven't seen anybody able to do that not his wife, children, nobody. and so that's the test for general kelly moving forward. >> and jonathan, it's one thing for a chief of staff to say all routes of report lead through me there are no direct reports it's another thing to be the president's son-in-law and say okay, i'll see him for dinner the residence. >> kushner and ivanka have access to the president that any chief of staff would not be able to curtail. but that is kelly's one of his first tasks to restrict access to the oval office. the president wanted to recreate sort of what he had in his business. he wanted a free wheeling style. he likes the chaos. he likes it's not too buttoned down. it was not unheard of for
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staffers to walk in and start talking to him. and try to change his mind on certain issues. that would lead to much to reince priebus' dismay, shifting communications strategies. it was hard to keep him in line. i think general kelly is going to try to dispense with a lot of that. how successful he will be. can he be keep steve bannon out, jared and ivanka, remains to be seen. >> two big reasons why the associated press reporting on this white house is so good, fast and solid. thank you for being with us tonight. another break for us. coming up, vladamir putin's revenge. the russian president's move that has people wondering why hasn't donald trump responded. we're back with that after this.
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the president's made it very clear that -- that russia's destabilizing activities, support for rogue regimes, activities in ukraine are unacceptable. the president made it clear that very soon he will sign the sanctions. >> that was vice president pence in estonia yesterday, responding to vladamir putin after the russian president hit back at the u.s., ordering american embassy staff in russia be cut by 55 people. putten is retaliating to
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sanctions just approved by the senate last week in a veto proof 98-2 vote. tonight the sanctions bill is at the white house. sitting there awaiting a presidential signature. but the president has yet to sign the bill into law. or for that matter address the matter publicly. with us tonight to talk about this former acting director of cia john mclaughlin is with us also msnbc security analyst. and nayera is with us. john the president doesn't agree on anything as we got a lesson in last week. i can't remember the last time they voted 98-2. this is a veto proof majority. how does this look that this document is sitting at the white house? will there be a signing statement?
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a public version of our policy toward russia? >> well, brian those questions underline really what's very different about in particular dust up with the russians. i've been through a lot. this one is very strange, very different. among other things we've never had the congress telling the president what to do in this way. apparently a sign that they don't trust him on this issue. maybe another sign that the republican firewall is beginning to break a little bit. the second thing is we've never been through one of these when we have a weak president who seems to be kind of paralyzed by the russia issue. third of course is the absence of a policy. as best i can tell we don't really have what i would call a russia policy. in the past when this sort of thing happened it's been in the context of a clearly understood policy, something can go back to. right now i came away from my last trip to russia asking myself where do we want this to end? i don't think we know. >> nayyera, it is odd to have
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the vice president as the acting point person in efblfect on russia. what's your understanding of the countermeasures that putin has ordered? >> well, vice president pence was in estonia as we know that is a former soviet union bloc country that is under constant threat from russia. you have the administration every time there is an official in europe they speak strongly against russian activity. but we haven't seen that kind of same strong reaction from the president himself. unfortunately, most of our foreign policy seems to be made on twitter these days. policy against north korea, china, all of these announced on twitter. not to hear the president say anything in support or against russian sanctions directly it's hard for any other surrogate to take place and fill that vacuum. now this isn't in context. this isn't a direct retaliation just for this past week. this is several weeks back. in the late obama
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administration. the obama had done an executive order to kick out about 35 russian diplomats, which we suspected were spies at the time. as well as shut down several russian facilities. at the time putin said he would not retaliate because he was waiting to see what a new trump administration would do. the fact that now six months into the trump presidency putin decided to retaliate now shows that he too is losing confidence that he has donald trump in his pocket. >> so john do you buy the premises of that front page "new york times" article today that putin's hopes to get in good and maybe have their way with team trump have backfired in this way? >> yes, brian, i think putin has given up on trump, given up on him in the sense of any hope that somehow russia was going to have easy going here. and that's not a bad thing. in dealing with the russians, it's good to show some steel. and that's what the congress has done.
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it doesn't always lead to bad things as you know. sometimes this is what you have to do to bring the russians into a realistic understanding of where you stand. i think it has removed illusions perhaps on both sides. trump's illusion that he could easily work out a better arrangement with russia and putin's illusion that somehow trump and his administration were going to be a cake walk for him. >> and a lightning round -- same question answers from bowing of you beginning with john, how reckless was it for the president to tweet against china over the weekend? >> that's a bad thing to do. i think he seems to think you can outsource the north korea problem. and you can't. china has a role to play but only in concert with about six or seven other things we have to orchestrate. >> nayyera, same question. >> and certainly this comes back to the united states going to the u.n., a body trump has not empowered now looking to handle the north korea threat because of the saber rattling happened
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over twitter. the more he tweets against north korea the more erratic behavior we'll see from the dictator there. >> john, nayyera thank you for coming on. complex topics and you helped our discussion immensely. up next after another break. former senator bob kerry here in the studio. our next guest when "the 11th hour" continues. offer from the bank today. whuuuuuat? you never just get one offer. go to and shop multiple loan offers for free! free? yeah. could save thousands. you should probably buy me dinner. no. go to for a new home loan or refinance. receive up to five free offers and choose the loan that's right for you. our average customer could lower their monthly bills by over three hundred dollars. go to right now.
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welcome back to the 11th hour." it was another busy day in the life of the trump white house. on secretary kelly's first day as white house chief of staff and what happened to be anthony scaramucci's last day as communications director, the president also awarded his first medal of honor. here with us to discuss all of the events today and more, nebraska democratic senator for 12 years, former nebraska governor for four.
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bob kerry here with us. notably a recipient of the medal of honor for his combat actions as a navy s.e.a.l. and a member of the 9/11 commission. senator, here is why i was thinking about you most recently. it came down to your vote in 1993 for the entire clinton financial ball of wax, the budget plan, tax policy, and i want to show you what's going to -- it's going to feel like you're looking at your high school picture. but i want to show you you from the senate floor in announcing how you were going to vote. >> president clinton, if you're watching now, astz i suspect yo are, i tell you this -- i could not and should not cast the vote that brings down your presidency. >> i am sure many people stopped by your office and you were spun hard. what must it feel like having -- you had the -- the deciding vote. what must it feel like to be collins and murkowski inside the
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republican party right now? >> it's harder. it's much harder because of the social media. it's easier to you know to focus your ire through facebook and other sorts of devices like that. it gets pretty you go ugly on the receiving end of national tweets. you probably have never gotten anything like that. >> no, no, i'm in the clear all the time. it's just a love fest. >> the important ning about the '93 vote is began in 1990. it began with george w. bush. he broke with republican orthodoxy. he said i'll support a tax increase if democrats support spending restraints. my biggest problem in 93 i didn"t think we went far enough. we finished it out in 97. people loved getting rid in the deficit, you can't get it done any other way. the brave moment was 1990 when president bush said i will support a tax increase.
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and that -- all we did -- as i said three years later and seven years later was finally balance the budget by amending that legislation. >> that broke his read my lips vow. i'm already reading because time and space has become compacted and every day is really a week. i'm already reading this is a lame duck president. do you agree with that? >> no i don't agree with it. you never know. i mean you could be -- it's hard to predict. i didn't predict he was going to win, so who am i to predict whether he will win a second term? the troubling thing about the russia investigation is consistently and constantly saying it's a witch hunt. it's not. it's not even close to the salem witch trials. there is clear and present evidence the russians tried to interfere with the elections. we had an investigation going on. and he made a decision that he didn't like that investigation. so he got rid of comey. and now he has a special counsel. he has robert mueller. former united states marine.
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got tremendous integrity, tremendous capability. and at a minimum he is going to issue a report that's going to be unpleasant. and constantly saying that it's fake news. i mean you can disagree and say i don't like what brian williams said about me. i don't like what somebody said about me. but to describe the news as fake encouraging people to not believe anything. >> that's pernicious. >> it is pernicious. >> i want to show you the president from today on the topic of north korea. >> what can you do about north korea, sir? >> we'll handle north korea. we're going to be able to handle north korea. there will be -- it will be handled. we handle everything. thank you very much. >> north korea we learned is going to be handled. does that fill you with confidence? >> no it's not a real estate deal. i mean north korea has close to a million troops north of the 38th parallel. they would swarm into seoul in about 24 hours.
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they would be massive casualties in south korea. it's a significant program of a recent launch and their missiles can reach at least the western coast of the united states of america and probably further. but to threaten in that way we're going to fix it this deal, no it doesn't -- it doesn't inspire confidence at all. particularly at the moment when you've got so many people at the state department missing in action. there's something like 50 senate confirmed positions, three of them confirmed. i understand tillerson wants to reorient and change the state department. but they're proposing a 30% cut in their budget. when he says we're handling it we is -- we is normally a group of diplomats with significant experience on the korean peninsula say you could do this do this here is a few scenarios. and at the moment i don't know who is on the playing field. >> a question. i went home last thursday and watched intentionally bbc and the french television network to
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see how they were covering mr. scaramucci. how they were going to get around to some of the quotes that we can't repeat on a family network on a family broadcast. how do you think this all looks to the world when priebus is gone, and spicer is gone? and now a guy referred to as the mooch, who was the head of communications for a title we used to call at leader of the free world, is gone. >> it's a good thing he is gone. i mean i think the president should have fired him as soon as the story broke about the profanity and the language he was using, and threats. i mean, you know i increased my myself. >> you were in the navy. >> right but my problem is it's an abuse of power. i'm going to get you guys. i'm going to use my power to get you guys. and that's an abuse of power. on its face the president should have removed him. the good news is general kelly is there. and insisted that scaramucci be gone. it's a good thing. >> what -- i asked this question of somebody last week.
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what if it turns out the leading expert at the nsa on isis is transgender and someone walks in has to say to them depending on whether the president's tweet becomes a policy, give us your i.d. card, stand up from your computer time for you to go. >> well i mean three things. the justice department is saying you can discriminate in the workforce against people who are gay or lesbian or transgender. that's not discrimination. we're not going to defend that as a violation of civil rights. the second one is the tweet on his own. and said incorrectly to be generous that he is his generals supported it. they didn't. the third one i served with sam brownback. but sam brownback is openly antihomosexual. you put him in charge of making him a ambassador for religious freedom or religious tolerance. it's the opposite. those three together had to send
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a signal to every gay, lesbian, transgender american that they are not very welcome. >> shouldn't anyone willing to raise their hand and volunteer for service -- >> oh sure. yeah. i mean -- the answer is emphatically yes. i mean, wasn't that long ago back in 1990s women can't serve in combat. now they're serving in combat, they're doing just fine. can't have gays in the military, and they're doing just fine. it's going to be disruptive. people won't be able -- they'll be uncomfortable. well okay they're a little uncomfortable. they right hand salute and follow the commanding officer and carry out the mission. same thing with transgender. it's not expensive. not a problem. in fact it's a violation of what we try to be as a country. >> i've got 15 seconds left. last time you were on you told me you had written seven letters to donald trump that your son had had. i neglected to ask you have you
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heard back? >> i have not but they're long letters. >> okay. well i'm sure there is an an office for that somewhere thank you for agreeing to come back on the broadcast. >> thank you. >> another break for us. back with more right after this.
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welcome back to our broadcast. another week, another white house staff shakeup. this time last friday we were talking about reince priebus and his departure. he resigned before now. anthony scaramucci had a chance to fire him. the new chief of staff was sworn in and scaramucci was the first to go under his new leadership. with us to talk about it now, tim alberta, whose latest piece is headlined "whiteout priebus, trump is a man without a party." and molly ball wrote, the final
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humiliation of reince priebus. molly's piece begins, quote, six years ago, a humble part hack from kenosha, wisconsin took on the thankless job of turning around the republican party. as he exits the white house, battered, bruised and humiliated, reince priebus claims he did what he set out to do. you actually talked to him this weekend, molly. what did he say and what did he say to argue against being humiliated? >> i was looking at the whole sweep of his career in national politics. i have been covering the rnc since priebus became the chairman in 2011. and if you remember at that time, the party was really in the dumps. they were badly divided. they won a mid-term election but they were deep in debt and the donor and activist community was dissatisfied. he came in and said he was going to turn this thing around and the republicans could win without sacrificing their
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principles. he pointed to his home state where scott walker and paul ryan were doing just that. and the party put its trust in him. now i think you know, the case he makes is that he was successful because the party did win. the number of republicans in the white house, the house, the senate and state legislature, state houses across the country is the highest it's been since 1928. you can look at what came after 1928 and say that didn't work out so well for the republican party but the case he makes is he did his job which was to win. and the question that a lot of his critics would ask is was it worth it? if you believe in conservative principles, did he sacrifice too much in the name of that goal? >> tim, along these same lines, so many of us have noticed the president's language. he is not careless with words but the opposite. he says nothing by mistake and it's always interesting to see what sentences in his remarks he
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chooses to add to or double down on. when he talks about republicans it's so often in the third person, them or they and it strikes me incorporating molly's work the departure of priebus along with your work that's one less link to the big giant orb that allegedly he climbed onto for election. >> that's right. and i don't think it's coincidental at this point. the language you are talking about i don't think we consider any of this coincidental. it's very deliberate. donald trump is talking as though there is a republican party and the democratic party and there is him, a party unto himself. and by firing reince priebus he has severed his connection to the republican party. not just in terms of the rnc and priebus' chairmanship, but we're talking about the donor
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community, the activist community. reince priebus has spent five years making sure the republican tent, as it were, was cohesive in a way it had not been. it is not just critical that reince priebus has lost this chief of staff and lost this major connection and link to the republican party but he now seems to be embracing this idea of almost try anlating against the party itself. and seems to be very much warming up to this idea or road testing this idea already of turning the base against some of these republican politicians whom they sent to washington. and in a way, almost testing them, forcing them to choose between the president who is a republican technically, and their own elected officials back home. >> there is a lot there to react to. let's talk about reince in the rear-view mirror.
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kind of ex reince facto. as he looks back with the kelly era beginning. if kelly asked him advice what do you think that would be? again, kelly, nonpartisan, kelly is the organization man. he is not running to make a successful republican president. he is in this job to make a successful president. >> yes, well, you know, i think one thing that reince learned was that the loyalty with donald trump is a one-way street and the relationship with trump once he views you as someone who is not 100% loyal you never fully recover from that. they had a rocky relationship during the campaign. there were several points at which reince behind the scenes tried to rein in trump and said you may need to think about dropping out of the race after the "access hollywood" tape and trump never let him forget that. and trump nursed a grudge about that. reince was never actually in practice the chief of staff.
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he did not have executive authority. people didn't believe he spoke for the president when he made decisions or he had executive authority within the white house. kelly is coming in with a very different reputation and a very different mandate. he has received assurances from the president. we saw that with the departure of scaramucci is a direct result of the deal kelly extracted from president trump. if i'm going to do this, the staff has to report to the chief of staff. i have to be able to do the things i see fit to organize this place. reince was not in that position ever. he didn't have the power he needed to organize the white house even if he was capable of doing it. which a lot of people i think would question. >> and tim, do they realize they need ryan and mcconnell, they can only run as an independent entity so much? >> you have to wonder, brian. i'm not entirely sure. if you look at the president's inner circle at this point, mike
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pence is really the only adviser to the president, the only person whom the president regularly consults his opinion who has any serious association with the republican party. and that's not an exaggeration at all. you could potentially make the case that kellyanne conway has the president's ear in some cases. but according to people in the white house, she is not regularly consulted for major decisions. i don't know if you look at the west wing and his son-in-law, his daughter, steve bannon, anthony scaramucci has now departed. when you look at the people who surround the president on a daily basis, and now john kelly as a milt -- military minded individual, you have to wonder who will be prodding him closer to the republican party and make sure he works in concert with congressional leadership. >> great conversation tonight. we'll keep doing it and our thanks for being on our broadcast so late in the evening. one last item before we go
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tonight. president trump awarded his first medal of honor as president today to army medic james mcclune and the ceremony was almost 50 years in the making. he was a combat army medic in vietnam who during two days of sustained combat in 1969 is credited with saving the lives of ten members of his company before collapsing, himself. despite his own wounds he refused a medevac flight out and he stayed. he refused a direct order to stay back and ventured out in the open kill zone four separate times. often unable to defend himself. he spent a year in vietnam and came home and became a high school teacher. he has retired for a decade and now this. for some context about the honor bestowed upon him today, we had a medal of honor recipient in this room tonight, senator bob
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kerrey. we had another friday night. those are two men out of only 72 men alive who have received their nation's highest military honor. now >> this so difficult position to be in. 11 days later. anthony scaramucci is out. >> tonight at the mooch era ends before it officially started. >> he does not have a role at this time in the trump administration. >> why the latest turn of the white house staffing carousel is a sign of much deeper problems. plus -- senator brown on whether the trump agenda is already dead.


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