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tv   As It Happened - Deadline White House 101717  MSNBC  December 25, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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don't know what documents they already have. so we don't know what kind of questions will be asked of those witnesses. but it certainly is possible that they're wrapping -- that they will wrap this up quickly. >> jill wine-banks, john mclaughlin, charlie sikes and catherine rampell, thanks to all of you. that does it for "all in." you can catch us every night week night at 8:00 right here on msnbc. hi, everyone, it's 4:00 in new york. i started this show one day by saying that the bottom was calling. it wanted to know if we were there yet on day 2 of the president's fight over how his predecessors handled the most solemn of presidential responsibilities, the calls to families of the men and women who give their lives to protect america. it feels like the right time to reup the question. anything sacred. covering a man for whom scandals and mistruths are served up in costco-sides portions overwhelms the circus. but here are some of the
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previous moments that we thought represented the bottom at the time they occurred. . >> he is not a war hero shirks a war hero hi, is a war hero who was captured. i like people that weren't captured. i have to tell you. >> now the poor guy. you god got to see. i don't remember what i said. i don't remember! >> if you look at his wife, she was standing there. she had nothing to say. maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say me. you tell me. >> i'm automatically attracted to beautiful. i just start kissing them. it's like a magnet. and when you're a star that. >> let you do it. you can do anything. >> whatever you want? >> grab them by the [ bleep ] do anything. >> he went out and bought a big yacht. and he had a very interesting life. i won't go any more than that because you're boy scouts so i'm not going to tell you what he did. should i tell you? should i tell you? >> and you had some very bad people in that group. but you also had people that were very fine people on both
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sides. >> wouldn't you love to see one of these nfl owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. he see fired. he is fired! >> so it turns out with this president there is always a lower rung from which to swing. the president today again defending his claim that past presidents hadn't called families who lost loved ones, this time invoking the death of his chief of staff general kelly's son. >> this was again fake news cnn. just a bunch of fakers. so they asked me that question. and for the most part, to the best of my knowledge, i think have i called every family of somebody that's died. and it's the hardest call to make. and i said it very loud and clear yesterday. the hardest thing for me to do is do that. as far as other representatives, i don't know. you can ask general kelly, did he get a call from obama. >> the white house releasing a carefully worded statement to nbc news saying that president
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obama never called general kelly. spokesman for presidents obama and bush forcefully debunk trump's claim that they hadn't called families. let's get to our reporters covering the latest seemingly surreal developments. joining us is associated press white house reporter jonathan le mere, elike stoeckels and peter alexander. peter, let me start with you again today. because i know you've been reporting out this story. what's the latest word from the white house? >> well, the bottom line i think as you laid out well there, nicolle, is the president again today is casting doubt on whether his predecessor, president obama appropriately consoled the families of fallen american service members, specifically referring to the experience of general john kelly, whose son robert kelley died in afghanistan in 2010. one of 500 american soldiers killed that year. the white house basically
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insists this is just being focused on by the media right now, that they're politicizing this issue. but be clear it was the president who first invoked president obama's name during that question in the rose garden yesterday. the white house, as you have talked about here as spokesperson effectively saying, a white house official i should say saying that president obama never reached out to general john kelly. i returned a call to the white house and basically said well, did he -- did the president speak to the kelly family in some other form? did he visit with them privately? did he send them a letter? i never got a response to that question. but white house visitor records show that president obama in may of 2011, about six months after general john kelly's son was killed, hosted a gold star families breakfast here at the white house where the kellys were among those invited. and according to a source familiar with that breakfast who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was private breakfast, tells me that the kelly parents, john kelly and
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his wife were seated at the table with the first lady michelle obama at the time. the bottom line, it would have been easy for president trump on this day when asked during a round-robin of radio interviews about the topic to say nobody wants to be fighting over this. it's the gravest of obligations for any president. >> peter, this is a man who relished in a fight -- yes, that would be the logical thing to say. >> of course. >> if you're a logical person. why would anyone think that donald trump, who relished i think in almost two-week fight with the khan family. this to me seems more like a pattern of his to disparage. we aired those clips not because anyone needs to see them again, but to be reminded that nothing is sacred. and this isn't about reaching the bottom. well will fall forever. but why does anyone doubt? i've come to the conclusion that this is a white house strategy. >> no, to be very clear, this is a president we've witnessed it. all those examples were examples
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of places where the president never backed down, even when it -- on a simple apology might have been a simple way out of it. it's just not the way he works. he will fight to the end. as one white house official privately told me, a matter of months ago, they said this guy loves the fight. he smells blood. he loves the smell of blood. this was not in the context of what we're talking about now. but that is the way the president views things. it's him against everybody else. and even in this circumstance about the responsibility of presidents to comfort the families of the fallen. it's a place where the president feels when his back is against the wall, he simply needs to fight. >> eli stokols, do you get the sense from talking to your sources that this is a strategy that has been green lit on the staff side as well, that they've nodded their heads and agreed that having donald trump continue to question what his predecessors did in response to families who lost loved ones serving and protecting this country is a good strategy? >> well, it's really hard to
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say. john kerry was not in the rose garden for the joint press conference earlier this afternoon. make that of what you will. but also, as peter pointed out, this was a statement, a confirmation that came from the white house press shop when they started to get to questions that basically the president had planted with the media, ask john kelly uif president obama called him. when the white house was asked about that, they willingly put out on background that president obama had not called general kelly back in 2010. >> eli, could president obama have called mrs. kelly? >> well, we know the kellys were at that gold star family breakfast at the white house. i've talked to some folks in national security circles who know general kelly very well. and they have a hard time imagining that he is okay with the politicization of this at this point. it's easy to sort of go back and think and imagine him relaying the information or telling the president some story about this. and the question can fairly be skchltd but john kelly is not
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answering at this point how he feels. well just know he is the chief of staff of a white house that seems to be pushing this out as a strategy, and a president who compulsively, as you pointed out, makes it about himself even when he is trying to talk about how to best honor gold star families, he is getting into this compare and contrast between himself and president obama. and that stands in stark contrast to the peach kelly himself gave just after his son's death when he spoke really movingly about the pluralism of our armed forces, about the courage and bravery of our men and women in uniform there is no mention of his individual grief. this is a guy talking what unites us as a country and not about his own personal feelings. and now he is in service of a president who tends to do the opposite. >> at this point as leli was saying, as first reported by "the washington post" in covering that event, general kelly, as the post reports, told the individual, the marine who
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would be introducing him, please don't bring up my son's death here. it's clear the way john kelly feels about what was just a terrible moment in he and his wife's, their whole family's life. you can only imagine it's not a topic he wants to be revisiting. certainly under these circumstances right now. we've reached out to the white house requesting an interview with john kelly to see how he feels about his son's name being invoked in a political contest like this today. unclear whether that interview will occur. this all started when the president was asked why he hadn't spoken more publicly or publicly at all frankly about the death of four american soldiers, including green berets who died in niger now almost two weeks ago. the president said he had written letters that hadn't been sent yet. that he likes to call all the families. i'm told by white house officials those calls to the four families are on his schedule for today. and the letters i was told to have been sent out this morning. >> interesting that doing a
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round of conservative talk radio interviews in which he attacks his predecessors and john mccain came first. jonathan lemaire, let me ask you. i heard from two people close to trump, but not inside the white house staff that the strategy behind the interview that tom barrack did with "the washington post" last week and others is to scream at the top of their lungs at this president which is the things he sees which is the media about him that they can't get through to him. that they feel what has been lost is any attempt on his part is to govern beyond the 32%. do you have any reporting that suggests that the president is now all in on being the leader of the 32%? >> i think he is very concerned about the base. we have reporting that suggests that he has told people around thame he is worried a little bit about the ramification about the chuck and nancy deal,f backing the wrong candidate in the alabama race, the steve bannon insurgency to attack some of the
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place republican incumbents when he feels like i might be on the wrong side of that if they are successful. >> the roy moore contest going for bannon's candidate, not his. >> in this case dating back from the campaign, advisers have tried to reach him through the media. they thought the best way to get him is to place an interview with "fox & friends" to give an interview to a publication that he reads. that's a way to break through and he'll respond better to that than in a meeting where his attention span is known to be short. and also here, let's remember, this is a president that no matter how inaccurate his statement might be, or how insensitive a statement might be, he does not apologize. he has told people around him, that is one of his cardinal rules do. not apologize. yesterday he felt the questions about why haven't you called the families of these soldiers, that these worry criticism. he had known he was golfing all weekend. he golfed both days in his golf course in virginia last weekend and he did not call the families.
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he we know the calls are being made today. we know the letters are being sent today. but in the moment when he was taking the kind of questioning, he does what he so often does. he deflected. >> would he have been making the calls today if peter alexander hadn't asked those questions yesterday? >> that is a great question. >> you know how this process works better than me. the way i understand this from conversation i've had with past and present white house officials is that there is a protocol for the way that these calls and letters take place that the pentagon formally provides as described to me like a package to the white house that communicates to them the names of the fallen. then the white house military office goes through the details when it's presented to the president so the president is not put into some uncomfortable situation of reaching out to families that may have been estranged. but the bottom line is we have gotten to a very ugly place where you have former president obama's then deputy chief of staff referring to this president as a deranged animal. you the president obviously invoking the name of his -- of
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the past president and a chief of staff whose own son has died. and at this point it's unclear if there is ever any point where all sides can come together for any kumbahyah moment of any kind because at this point everyone is dug into their corn sorry deeply, peter alexander, thank you for all of your extraordinary reporting on this topic. it's a sad thing to have to cover. but we appreciate having you yesterday and today. >> thanks. >> let's bring in the rest of our panel. joining jonathan and me at the table, republican strategist and msnbc contributor steve schmidt. the director of progressive programming for siriusxm and democratic congressman eric swalwell of california, member of the house intel and judiciary committees is here. let me ask you, how do you handle this issue if someone in your district loses a loved one? >> i've handled it. it's awful. you don't want to politicize it. these families are going through enough. and you don't want to pat yourselve yourself on the become
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for doing your job. i don't know why you would want to kick your predecessor for how you think they should have done theirs. but i also just -- when you hear the story, take a step back. and john kelly lost his son. and now this is front and center again for john kelly? it's so unnecessary. aged, you know, this president is bringing out the worst in everyone. you're seeing martin dempsey tweeting how horrified he was. this is a geniusing words that he probably would not use publicly. but he is so offended by what he has seen. >> general dempsey, as the congressman just said tweeting potus 43 and 44. that's presidents bush and obama and first ladies cared deeply, worked tirelessly for the serving, the fallen and their families. not politics. sacred trust. let me trust you on this point. we are not raising general kelly's son's death. donald trump raids it in an interview. he did an interview this morning, and he said this.
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you could ask general kelly, did he get a call from obama. that is how general kelly's son's death ended up part of the season. >> it's horrifying to me. i can't believe that we're back here again talking about something that is so sensitive. but, again, he attacked a gold star family previously. so i guess this is just old hat for him to punch down in a moment in which he -- >> punch down. you lose your child, you're broken. it's not even punching down. steve? >> the only thing that goes through my shed the quote by joseph well whoch is the chief council of the united states army confronting joseph mccarthy. and he said "at long last, sir, have you no sense of decency?" and we're past the hour where you hope someone in this country, of stature, and preferably from the president's political party would say sir, at long last, have you no sense of decency? and it is extraordinary to see
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the lack of rectitude, of dignity on an issue and a trust so sacred as this that the president is talking about how hard these calls are for him. >> still. >> like with regard to puerto rico when you listen to his comments. it's the hurricane's greatest victim is donald trump. his constant cries of victimization and the projection of that weaks on the world is beyond bad. beyond bad. >> i don't have time for the whole thing, but let me read a little bit. we've got gregg popovich. those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previousious presidents obama and bush never contacted their families are so beyond pale, i almost don't have the words. he can only become large by belittling others.
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this of course is a common practice of his. but to reply is as low as it gets. jonathan lemire, you think he is going to go on the warpath against gregg popovich next? >> it's possible. he has not been shy about picking fights in the sports world. popovich in recent months has become a very outspoken opponent of the president. he has spoken movingly and eloquently about this. and it's hard to suggest that no matter what side of the political aisle you're on, that this is a good fight for america, that this is a good conversation for this country there is nothing more sacred than a president's duty than this, to call the families who lost a loved ones overseas serving their country, who died in uniform. and here we are again now, the second day. the president extended the story today. he chose to bring up general kelly's son. he chose instead of staying move on for the country, he chose to make this an issue. and we're going to be dealing with it days to come. >> hey, west wing, don't text me. don't tweet me. talk to your boss.
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called out as unpatriotic. those who adhere to america first style nationalism. and on cue, donald trump threatens him today. also ahead, we'll turn the investigation into donald trump's ties to russia and ask one of the investigators, that's you, about the new subpoenas, uncooperative witness, and what bob mueller would want to chat with reince priebus about. ( ♪ ) ♪ one is the only number ♪ that you'll ever need ♪ staying ahead isn't about waiting for a chance. ♪ because one is... it's about the one bold choice you make that moves you forward. ♪ ...that you ever need the one and only cadillac escalade. come in for our season's best offers and drive out with the perfect 2017 cadillac escalade for you. get this low mileage lease from around $899 per month. ( ♪ )
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that gives you coverage here, here and here. from around $899 per month. and it even let's you take a timeout. nooooooo! yes! amazing speed, coverage and control. all with an xfi gateway. my mom had an expression
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from the time i was a kid. she said joey, look at me. look in my eyes. and i'm not exaggeratinexaggera word as a biden. she said look at me. remember, you are defined by your courage and you're redeemed by your loyalty. that was her code. you are defined by your courage and you're redeemed by your loyalty. courage and loyalty. i can think of no better description of the men we're honoring tonight, my friend john mccain. >> that's former vice president joe biden introducing the one person who ran for president under a slogan that doubled as his life's mission station, country first. honored by democrats and republicans for a lifetime of standing up for liberty. >> to fear the world we have organized and led for 3/4 of a
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century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain the last best hope of earth for the sake solve some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that aricans consigned to the ash heap of history. >> today donald trump, when asked about those comments, vowed to fight back. >> you heard what he said yesterday, senator mccain. >> yeah, i hear it. and people have to be careful. because at some point, i fight back, you know. i'm being very nice. i'm being very, very nice. but at some point, i fight back. and i won't be pretty. >> nothing you do is pretty. congressman? >> well, half of me think weren't those the days when we had leaders like john mccain and biden. and the other half thinks that
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the next generation of leaders who can work in a bipartisan way are out there. >> who is that? >> i'm encouraged by murray and alexander in the senate, striking a deal on health care. that gives me hope that we can keep doing that. >> is the bar so low? i know that's a breaking headline this afternoon that two senators agree on health care, and we're blowing it out like breakthrough. it is tough to get it through both houses now? >> it's so low in 2017. but it's an encouraging first step. >> okay. >> that we can start working together. americans, that's what they expect on health care. they don't want us to repeal and replace. but they also want us to acknowledge that there are issues with the affordable care act and we should work together to fix it. >> who your party's john mccain? >> i think i've learned a lot, you know, in the house from people like anna eshoo who is my neighbor in the bay area. she has taught me how to build friendships behind the scenes and strike and work on those. i think there is a lot in the house, in the senate. i'm also encouraged by cory booker and the work that he does on criminal justice reform.
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but it's out there. it's just drowned out by this president. again, it just brings out the worst. >> and it's poisoned by the president. there was a path to do health care reform with members from both parties. that if republicans had given up repeal and democrats had come to the table ready to fix, there could have been something. >> absolutely. >> it's also about missed opportunity? >> it's also because he doesn't understand the underlying policy. if you take repeal off the table, of course democrats will come to the table and try to fix obamacare because everyone acknowledges that there are issues that need to be fixed. because we want more people to have access to affordable care act, not less. and president trump's misunderstanding and lack of understanding of the details of details of policy has a tangible impact on this administration to tayely pass legislation. i think he is the reason why congress sun able to do anything because he is hampering their efforts. and when he says it's not my fault, don't blame me.
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no. it's his fault. it's his fault. >> steve schmidt, let's go back to that speech last night. you watched the whole thing, every tribute, every address. it's an interesting moment for john mccain because it turns out lindsey graham is no more john mccain there are no more john mccains. i hope he is around for another couple decades. but what at this moment is the importance to john mccain's voice, not just on policy but in the body in which he serves? >> first off, since the moment he took the oath at annapolis at 17 years old with the brief time between leaving naval service and being elected to congress, he has spent every hour of his adult life in service to this nation at cost and sacrifice that beggars the imagination. i think what john mccain did last night is he lit a torch. he lit a torch for the generations of political leaders that will come behind like eric, to focus on the reality that we are one people. we are a people bound by ideals.
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american ideals. that are the most exceptional ideals ever put to paper by the mind of man. we're an imperfect nation because we journey towards the fulfillment of those ideals. and what john mccain talked about last night is our best selves. and the duty, the aspiration to achieve the greatness of the founder's vision of justice and liberty for all. >> but talk about how short we're falling. i think that john mccain's -- i saw so much fight in him last night. >> right. >> he is -- and he has pretty raunchy stories that he takes around the world. that's how he and the three amigos game the three amigos. sometimes alcohol may or may not have been involved. but they took these trips. i think dana bash reported on cnn last night that john mccain has logged tens of thousands of
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miles. this year his urgent mission seems to be to carry that torch to as many foreign capitals as possible to say america is still america. that because it is or is that because he fears it might not stay that way? >> look, i think the speech last night was a warning in the spirit of george washington's farewell address. the warnings contained when dwight eisenhower left office. the u.s.-led liberal global order, the rules-based liberal global order that came in the aftermath of a global ward that killed 80 million people that no country, no country has benefitted more from that rules based system than the united states. it's made us the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world. and at the exact hour where the last of the generation that stormed the beaches in normandy, the last generation that the generation that survived the death camps, as they move to the end of long human life spans, that these will now become
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memories, not experiential memories, but historical memories. and we must understand the lessons of history. if we fail to remember them, the world can have another tragedy the likes of which we saw in the middle of the last century. that's what he is trying to say. >> and building off that, it's simply a factual statement that this president does not spend much time on the lofty ideas and ideals of america. that's not how he works. he does not speak about. he does not offer a call to our better angels. that's not part of our appeal. >> do you think he knows what that is? anyone? >> it's not part of his approach to supporters. but one thing he does do, and we saw a little bit of this yesterday when he suggested that a failure would not be his fault. he understands drama, and he likes to have a villain. he likes to have an opponent. he likes to have an adversary. and he has made it very clear he is comfortable with senator mccain being that adversary. we know he holds him responsible for health care mistakes and doesn't seem to mind the senator
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is battling a very grave illness when he does. so. >> eeli, let me bring you back to where we started, the idea that nothing is sacred. he issued a threat that he has been very, very nice, but not for long. i mean, does he have any idea how idiotic he sounds? >> probably not. but, you know, i don't know that he actually conveyed that he had heard what mccain had said. he asked the question and said i hear things. you never actually know if he is responding to what we think he is responding. to he could have just heard broad brush, mccain gave a speech. it wasn't great last night and he makes this sort of broad brush threat in return. you can bet if he has heard this or when he does, he won't like it. and he will react because nobody or nothing is sacrosanct to this president. and i think one of the things that mccain was talking about was not just the isolationist foreign policy aspect of donald trump's nationalism, but the part of it that is threatening to the bonds that unite this nation as one people, like steve was talking about. the way that this president and
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his augthoritarian impulses threaten the system of our democracy, the checks and balance on the executive, the courts, the legislative branch, the media has worked to undermine the media and the very notion of objective truths being something that we can actually pursue and find and agree to as a country. those are the things that this president does that are destructive beyond just the isolationist foreign policy. and i know that that is something that also weighs heavily on senator mccain. >> as john mccain blaze as legacy, there are real people who need his leadership style right now. yesterday i met with dreamer, joe kennedy and stephanie murphy and i. and they told us. one of them said we don't need politics right now. we need leadership. they don't care where the solution comes from. they just need leadership. >> really quick, what is he going to do to john mccain? is he going to send a mean tweet to john mccain? does he have any idea who john mccain is? >> the guy is like canned tuna. he is so easy going. >> this is the toughest living
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human being that you can find. but i do think if he picked john mccain as an adversary, and he has, i can't think of another example where a man so unworthy has chosen as his adversary a man so deeply worthy as john mccain. >> well said. all right. when we come back, we'll turn to the man at the table investigating donald trump's potential ties to russia, and find wrought the inquiry stands. stay with us. ♪ the moment a fish is pulled out from the water, it's a race against time. and keeping it in the right conditions is the best way to get that fish to your plate safely. bacteria can multiply to high enough levels that even cooking it will not destroy all of them. it's definitely the most important thing in my business. how fresh is the fish? where it comes from?
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i'm ali velshi with this hour's top stories. a winter storm is blanketing the midwest and dumping as much as a foot of snow in new england. more than 7,000 flights delayed. and pope francis delivering his annual christmas message, called for a two-state solution to end the israeli-palestinian conflict. he also called attention to other violent conflicts around the globe including north korea, venezuela and the ukraine. now back to msnbc as it happened.
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two developments out today in a congressional investigation into possible collusion between russia and the trump campaign. the senate intel committee subpoenaed carter page, a former foreign policy adviser to the campaign who met with russian ambassador sergey kislyak during the republican national convention. he is expected to take the fifth. and it's not yet a subpoena, but the committee has also requested documents and testimony from mike flynn jr., the son of the president's former national security adviser. so last time you were on, we talked about really some mischief that congressman nunes was making. i want to know if the house investigation is on track or if there are still sideshows. >> we're on track, despite the mischief that the chairman continues to try and make. most recently, sent a subpoena to the group that -- >> fusion gps. >> the dossier. he is more interested in the process behind the dossier being
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put together which is alleged in the dossier, which is mind-blowing. but also he is arest cuesed. he shouldn't even be there. >> no one has disproved any single piece of reporting in the dossier. >> it's still an unsettled budget some of it has been filled in. we know he was trying to do a trump tower dill in moscow during the election. some of it is uncorroborated. i think we should at least be doing dogged in trying to find out if it's true or not. >> and why wouldn't he want to? >> it look likes he has not left the white house transition team. he was on the transition team. he was doing a great job as chairman we worked well for the past two years. once he joined the trump transition team, it's like his loyalty stayed there. chairman conaway and adam schiff are doing a great job. >> is there a sense that nunes wants to shut down the investigation into the allegations in the dossier? >> i don't know the motive. i just know it's destructive. >> would that be the result if
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he is effective in shutting down the subpoenas for fusion gps? >> or preventing us from knowing more or deterring them from wanting to come in, or deterring christopher steel from wanting to cooperate. >> you said something yesterday on cnn that is to me -- let me just read it. you know we know that the russians were in the oval office. the russian ambassador and foreign minister stand president was kind of showing off about how he just fired james comey and he wouldn't have that problem when he dealt with the russians anymore. i think he said relieved a loft pressure on him, right? and reince priebus was witness to that when he was chief of staff. any quid pro quo that would have taken place with the russians? if that occurred, reince would have been a witness. also crafting this phony cover story for zohn don jr.'s name. and when the lie for why comey had been fired. i remember kellyanne conway out on the north lawn of the white house flipping the pages dramatically and reading from
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ro rosenstein. say how central of a figure is reince priebus to the mueller probe? >> he is an important witness. there is a lot of questions about was there a quid pro quo? or what has the white house given to russia for what russia did to help donald trump. so reince priebus would see the deliberations over the sanctions. he would have seen the firing of comey, the pressure that donald trump put on comey to, you know, not prosecute or go after michael flynn. he would have also been around when the russians were in the oval office, and it's alleged that the president was leaking national security secrets and also talking about the great relief that he had. he has seen a lot. hopefully he is just truthful. that's all we have. >> if he is not, isn't he under the danger of a perjury? it's one thing to be loyal. but if you perjure yourself to protect a president, you can't count on an arpaio-style pardon to clear things up, can you? >> no you can't. but reince seems like someone who has been around a lot. i don't have any reason to
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question why he wouldn't be truthful. he wasn't with the trump team. i think the niam the family who have been around a lot, that's where the loyalty is going to be the strongest and the hardest to pierce. hopefully if he saw something, he'll say something. >> it's like that slogan here in new york city. >> tsa. >> if you see something, say something. we're going to stay on this. we're going let our panel weigh in. don't go anywhere. we'll have that when we come back. i wanted to know who i am and where i came from. i did my ancestrydna and i couldn't wait to get my pie chart. the most shocking result was that i'm 26% native american.
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we're back. the congressman is still here. what you laid out before the break was the question, i guess, behind whether or not obstruction of justice might have taken place with the firing of comey and all the actions around that. we spend so much more time talking about the question of collusion with russia. but obstruction of justice is the thing that can get a whole bunch of people indicted, right? >> that's right. it's also, i think when you look at who is being interviewed by the reports that are coming out, it seems like that is also a track that is being pursued. you also can't imagine how the president would not be
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interviewed at this point, if his decisions around the don jr. e-mail and comey. >> his decision to order cover-up. he dictated it. and won't all of those aides that were named to bonn list for interviews by muler have to testify truthfully to avoid perjury charges themselves? >> absolutely. it's a crime to lie to an investigator. >> so they will be able to detail the president's involvement in changing the statement from that more closely resembled the truth? >> right. and also you would expect that documents are being produced by condolence between those aides and anything that the president was dictating and being passed around. >> congressman, i want to ask you about the sort of level of cooperation you're seeing from the white house administration and former campaign officials. the bp has been reporting there are a number of people in the trump orbit that are suggesting his tactic should be to fight that he should be going after bob mueller, that he should be going after the house and the senate while his legal team said no, no, we think you're innocent. we believe the best thing to do is to cooperate and get this other quickly. what is your saying? >> listen, as the president who
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said only the mob takes the 50. if he didn't do anything wrong, he is not acting like somebody who has nothing to worry about. the way that they're obstructing and disrupting and i think trying to throw us off the case at least in the house investigation does not seem like somebody who wants to be cooperative. now, it does appear we're in a period where on the mueller side that they're producing documents and allowing witnesses to participate. but that's what innocent people do. >> steve? >> well, look, at the end of the day, we're going to find out everything that happened by the time these investigations conclude. the special counsel and the congressional investigations. you know, the one thing i know for sure is that 100% of the time, and i mean 100% of the time, 100% of the people who have been around this campaign in this administration asked a question about russia, they lie about it. every single time. >> so we've got session. he lied. we've got kushner. >> the vice president. >> we'll keep a rung list for you. i'm sure your committee has a
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fancy version of this. kushner. who else lied about russia? >> don jr. >> flynn. >> the president. >> you trying to speak to all of these people? and it's a central question. how did so many people forget so many meetings with so many russians? >> how did they have so many contacts, a foreign adversaries when you're trying to get american votes. the number of times people are traveling over there meeting with russians over adoption when you're trying to get people in the united states to get behind your presidential campaign. it doesn't make sense. it could be the greatest coincidence in the world or a convergence. >> you and have i been around at the highest level of two presidential campaigns there are no russians. no russians. there. >> are no russians. >> i never saw any russians. >> zerlina, you were on the clinton campaign. >> yes. >> did you understand at the time you were up against not just an asymmetrical opponent, someone who lied with reckless
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abandon. someone for whom there was no bottom. there was nothing that was sacred. someone who trotted in your candidate husband's former liaisons. that created an asymmetrical dynamic. are you also now considering the possibility that there was a larger role played by russia than anybody understood at the time and still does? >> absolutely. i think about it every single day. during the campaign in terms of the hack, we didn't realize until later on the extent to which the russians were manipulating not just by leaking the e-mails, but now we're learning more about how they operated their fake news operation on social media. i was sort of in the hybrid middle of the digital and communications department. so twitter was my world. i saw a lot of these bots. i saw some of the tweets from people who pretended to be bernie supporters or black bernie supporters or black lives matters who seemed to be a little fishy. it's only now that we're understanding it.
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i wanted to ask the congressman. i've seen you talk previously than. you have an independent investigation. because that way is the only way we'll be able to prevent russia from attacking our elections again. is there any traction on capitol hill to implement that idea so it's not infected by politics? >> and to your earlier point that. >> got into pokemon go. >> right. >> they got into everything. i couldn't get into pokemon go. >> john mccain. back to him. he came and spoke to my college in 2001 right after september 11th. and he was a part of the team that led the effort for an independent commission. i saw the value that that brought. it was bipartisan. he had outside experts. we have two republicans. every democrat on board to do that right now. we need more courage to put country over party. we can't do this in the capital. it's too politicized. >> all right. when we come back, a new major military victory that president trump actually can claim. why don't we hear anything about it during all the introduce today? we'll put it to our panel.
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it took months of battle, but today u.s.-backed fighters have retaken control of raqqah, the city's siskiyoused as a capital in syria. it's obviously a significant military victory. but it's also a symbolic one as well. this was where the islamic state oversaw operations of control over large parts of syria. the panel is still here. eli stokols, why didn't the president, who spent so much time talking about how he was going to crush isis on a day when he met with the secretary of defense, and we know how much he loves his generals, make more of this? >> it's a good question. i think part of it may be
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because this is very complicated, and the politics of this region bring in a lot of complicated things when it comes to iran. russia is involved. so it's a little not quite so simple as the u.s. just crushing isis in this area. but also, you would think that there is a good positive story for this administration to tell. and once again, we just see a president sort of consumed with talking about his own supremacy as it relates to his predecessor, barack obama, talking about the controversy with the nfl players kneeling, which he brought up again, and really went hard at in his cress conference yesterday with senator mitch mcconnell in the rose garden there are other things this president is more comfortable talking about. and we've all seen and come to understand his ability to drive a news cycle. >> and eli, to be fair, one of the interviews that he did this morning, they actually brought it up to him i think to give him an opportunity perhaps to take some credit. and they said why didn't this happen before? he said well, trump wasn't president. do you think that anyone -- your
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understanding and your sort of intimate knowledge of how this white house functions, do you think anybody will sort of look back at the end of today's news cycle and say maybe we shouldn't have doubled down on the attacks on former american presidents for the way and whether or not they called families of the fallen? maybe we should have made more of sort of the progress on one of our campaign promise, something that can unite people. everyone is for beating isis. do you think there is a process in place? does general kelly sort of run an after action report process at the end of every news cycle? or is that just beyond his control? >> i think the focus is really about what's next, the next day, and how to move forward. there may be some sideline conversations off in the west wing, people venting about this, that it wasn't maybe the best day for the white house in terms of the media. some folks may vent on background or off the record to reporters. but really, the president himself does not look back. he doesn't apologize, and he also doesn't really question his own behavior. john kelly has been very clear
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publicly and privately about the way he views this job. it's not to change the president. it's not to stop him from tweet organize to contain the impultz, even though that is part of a strategy you. should see the tweets he didn't send. >> we've all heard that you should see all the bad stuff i stopped from happening. >> right. but this is for the most part that. >> don't spend a lot of time chastising or chiding the president for his behavior. they're trying to move forward and work as best as they can with the framework that the president, is it steve, the absence of an administration to sort of mark the importance of this military accomplishment, can you sort of give us some context? >> look, i think that the pace of operations quickened the rules of engagement were loosened when donald trump took office. and the physical area where isis was controlling territory, it's been eliminated. and so -- but though they don't have territory, increasingly, it doesn't solve for the problem of
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extremism in the region. of course, we always see the metastasis. now we have iraqi military fighting with the kurds, which may open the next chapter of chaos in this region. and before we come to our next presidential election, it's almost certain that we will have the first american soldier killed in action who was born after the attacks on 9/11. so as this war will move into its 20th and 21st year with no end sight for america's involvement militarily in this region, that's the big discussion we should be having in this country. >> all right. we have to sneak in one more break. we'll be right back.
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congressman, can you make a predicti prediction? we like to end with a prediction. you think this debate that the white house is stoking about what his predecessors did in regards to the fallen families, do you think he'll continue to ramp it up?
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>> there will be something new and we'll keep falling farther and farther down. but i do believe our better angels like john mccain will bring us to unity eventually. that's what gives me hope. that's all we have. >> keep come back to give me hope. my thanks to jonathan lemire, congressman eric swalwell and eli stokols. i'm nicolle wallace. white house chief of staff john kelly had a job to do today. take the heat off for getting into trouble. donald trump made a mess with a condolence phone call to the widow of sergeant la david johnson who was killed two week association in niger. today john kerry made just as much as a mess in his attempt to clean up donald trump's mess. all indications are that the president made that condolence call only after feeling the public pressure of a press conference where he was asked why he had been silent for almost two weeks about the death of sergeants johnson and three other army sergeants

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