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tv   MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle  MSNBC  January 8, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PST

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you're stuck with me. let's get started. >> discussions are underway between the president's legal team and the special counsel investigators about possible options of sitting down and interview the president. >> trump's team exploring a range of options for the format. >> could he do a written questionnaire? >> including one that would bypass an interview with the president all together. >> they'd like to, it seems, avoid an actual sit-down interview, face-to-face, between the president and whether it is robert mueller or members of his team. >> the 25th amendment is a concept that is alive every day in the white house. they don't say the cabinet is going to remove the president, but they do say things like, well, this is a little 25th amendment here. >> is donald trump fit to be president? >> no. >> from everything you've seen. >> no. >> statements like the one mr. wolff made about how we all think about the president is just ridiculous on their face. >> was he unstable when he
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passed the tax reform? >> the media made similar claims about ronald reagan and george bush. what they have in common, they're republican presidents. >> it's tragic and unfortunate that steve would make these grotesque comments so out of touch with reality and, obviously, vindictive. >> i went to the best colleges for college. i went to a -- i had a situation where i was an excellent student. came out and made billions and billions of dollars. became one of the top business people. went to television and for ten years was a tremendous success, as you've probably heard. ran for president one time and won. >> i want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon. >> oprah winfrey stealing the show with a powerful speech about truth and a new dawn. >> and when that new day finally
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dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women fighting hard to make sure that they take us to the time when nobody ever has to say me too again. >> a speech so inspiring, many now calling for winfrey to add yet another title in front of her name. president. >> winfrey's long-time partner stedman graham telling the "los angeles times," quote, it's up to the people. she'd absolutely do it. >> whoa, whoa. >> okay. right now, preliminary talks are underway between president trump's team and robert mueller's team. it is all about an interview that mueller will do with the president of the united states. in an nbc news exclusive, a story i'd like to point out all led by women, the special counsel's interview with the president would be done as part of the wide ranging investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election.
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this is according to three sources familiar with the matter. this comes as the president and his team has repeatedly attempted to undermine the credibility of the investigation. most recently calling it a total hoax. that happened just this weekend. for more, i'm joined by kristen welker, white house correspondent for nbc news, and nick ackerman, former assistant special watergate prosecutor and an msnbc analyst. kristen, excellent reporting. we spoke a couple hours ago and the white house hadn't said anything. >> that's right. one of the president's legal team members just responding. my colleague hallie jackson got this. let me read you that response. the white house does not comment on communications with the osc out of respect for the osc and its process. the white house is continuing its full cooperation with the osc in order to facilitate the earliest possible resolution. that last part of the statement, steph, is the most significant
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part because that is the focus for the president's legal team. they want this investigation, this probe, to be wrapped up as quickly as possible. we don't have a real sense about times. here's what i can tell you, according to three sources familiar with the matter, talks are underway between the president's legal team and special counsel investigate ergerginvestigaters. those includes what a potential interview with the president might look like. the duration of it, the legal parameters and the president's legal team also considering a range of options, including compromises that would include the possibility of answering written questions, or even according to one source, submitting an affidavit. important to stress, steph, that these talks are preliminary and ongoing. again, we don't have a clear sense of the time line about how this is all unfolding. we can tell you that president trump was asked directly about this over the weekend while he
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was at camp david. would he, in fact, meet with special counsel robert mueller and his team personally if he was asked to do so. the president said yeah and reiterated something we've heard from him rvigorously in the pas. there has been no collusion between the president's campaign and the russians. it wasn't clear if that "yeah" was a definitive answer to the question or an acknowledgment to the fact the question had been asked. my colleagues and i, hallie and peter, will be out on the south lawn shouting questions at the president today when he departs for nashville. that's when he is going to be speaking at a farming event, steph. we'll try to drill down son som of the questions. >> i want to bring nick in. why would president trump ever testify? he thinks this is an absolute hoax. if you were his legal representation, you wouldn't want him to. >> i'd have him take the fifth amendme amendment. there is no upside to him testifying, except for the fact there is a political reason.
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he's already stated on the record in front of reporters that he would testify just like james comey testified under oath. >> he has said a lot of things. >> right. but that's his problem. i mean, he's the president of the united states. for him not to testify fully in this particular investigation, i think, leads to the obvious political inference that he's guilty. i mean, there'd be no reason for him not to testify otherwise. now, if he was a normal client of mine, no way would i ever let him testify. i would have him take the fifty amendment. >> kristen, there is no insult in here. president trump is anything but normal. he is a guy who likes to speak for himself. he said it over and over on the campaign trail, i and i alone. couldn't one make the case, president trump is going to want to speak for himself. he doesn't listen to anyone else. he won't necessarily believe that his legal representation can do it for him. >> and he's been asked about this in the past, steph, over
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the summer, for example. would he be willing to testify. he said, 100%. that was specifically in response to some of the claims that were made by former fbi director james comey. again, we need to circle back with him. but you bring up an important point. what does the president think about all of this? we don't know. frankly, we don't know if he has read in on these conversations that are taking place. at this point, as far as we understand, based on the sources we've been speaking to, these conversations are between his legal team and investigators. they do not necessarily involve the president himself. >> nick, if the president and his legal team are willing to respond to mueller's questions in written form or an affidavit, couldn't that be better for mueller than the president pleading the fifth? it's more information rather than less. >> it's going to be a written lie. i mean, he's going to do the same thing he did with don junior's statement. the same thing he did with kushner's statement. >> don junior's statement may
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open the president up to obstruction of justice. >> of course. he's the president of the united states. if he doesn't testify, the inference is he's guilty. he has go to testify. there's a unique dynamic in this kind of a case. the same thing happened in watergate. there is no way a political figure who is trying to hold on to his power can just clam up and take five. he can't do it. if he does, that is politically disastrous for him. if this is really the witch hunt he claims it is, claiming there was no conspiracy between his campaign and the russian government, he has to put his mouth where his money is. i mean, he's got to get in there and testify. >> good luck. we don't know where his money is. we've never seen his taxes. kristen, another unusual circumstance. today, the president is headed down south to tennessee for a duo of appearances. first in nashville and then going to georgia, atlanta. what can we expect from him? i can't get my mind off of air force one. bob corker is going to be
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joining him. it wasn't long ago that bob corker referred to the white house as an adult day care center. >> right. but bob corker supported many of president trump's policies. he backs them. look, the president on the ground today when he gets to nashville is going to talk about how his tax plan, which bob corker supported, will help the farming community. he's also going to talk about how some of his deregulation moves have helped the farming community. so i think he's going to be taking a victory lap in that sense. remember, this is a chance for the president to go back to rural america. the communities that helped put him here in the white house, steph. >> if he's talking deregulation to the farming community, it will be to a friendly audience. they welcome those remarks. they welcome deregulation. it is good for their business in the short term. kristen welker and nick ackerman, thank you so much. president trump and his advisers are on the defense, which is a common position for them. specifically, after "fire and fury" broke out. you know what i'm talking about, the new book.
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the president taking to twitter, reminding us that he is, quote, like really smart. those are his words. many are asking the question, is he fit for office? this didn't just start when the book came out. remember, the first day of 2018, 16 tweets, one including the size of the president's large nuclear button. you're watching "velshi & ruhle." it's the ruhle half on msnbc. easy to analyze and take action? how about some of the lowest options fees? are you raising your hand? good then it's time for power e*trade the platform, price and service that gives you the edge you need. alright one quick game of rock, paper, scissors. 1, 2, 3, go. e*trade. the original place to invest online.
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welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." a new storm is swirling in washington this morning after president trump responded on twitter to a book claiming close aides do not think he is fit for office. the president went on a tweet tirade this weekend, saying, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being like really smart. members of the administration took to the sunday shows, pushing back on the issue big time. >> fitness to be president. >> completely fit. i mean, i pause only because it's just a ludacris -- ludicrous question. >> was he unstable when he passed the tax reform? was he unstable when we fit back at syria and said, no more chemical weapons. was he unstable when we put north krorea on notice? when he said we need to look at iran because it is a dangerous situation? >> author michael wolff doubled
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down in hurricaan interview wit todd, invoking a constitutional provision seen as a last resort. >> did anyone say it in the west wing to you? >> all the time. >> they'd bring up the 25th amend? >> yes. they would say, we're not -- sort of in the mid-period, we're not at a 25th amendment level yet. or they would -- >> it's alarming. >> this is alarming in every way. then this went on, okay, this is a little 25th amendment. so 25th amendment is a concept that is alive every day in the white house. >> the 25th amendment, of course, allows the vice president and majority of the cabinet to declare the president unfit for office. the "washington post" compiled a list of republicans close to the president who have questioned his fitness. secretary of state rex tillerson, who called the president a moromoron, sources
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nbc news. they're not the only senators and cabinet secretaries to raise doubts about the president's fitness for office. take a look. >> until mr. trump apologizes directly to john mccain and also to the veterans of this country, i don't think he has the character or the temperament to hold the highest position in this country. >> i'm not going to try to get into the mind of donald trump because i don't think there's a whole lot of space there. i think he is crazy. he is unfit for office. >> he has neither the temperament or judgment to be president. and his personal qualities would mean america would cease to be a shining city on a hill. >> the president has not yet -- has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. >> we must stop pretending that
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the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. they are not normal. >> so it's important to note bob corker and jeff flake there both made those comments when president trump was in office. it wasn't like it was during the battle on the campaign or during the primary. and tom cotton said on the sunday shows this weekend that it is common for the press or people to go after presidents mental fitness. they did it to ronald reagan. they did it to george bush. he said people do it to republicans. but there is a tweet that president trump put out during the 2014 ebola crisis that could come back to haunt him. he said, quote, i'm starting to think that there is something seriously whereon wi lly wrong obama's mental health. senator cotton, president trump questioned the mental health of president obama who, of course, is a democrat. joining me now is "atlantic"
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reporter and trump biographer of "donald trump the candidate and the trumps." you said there needs to be a way for lawmakers to evaluate the president's fitness. put president trump aside. it's a high pressure job, and it makes a lot of sense they would. mike pompeo didn't want to answer the question to fox, when chris wallace said, you evaluate. you do psychological profiles on world leaders all the time. what would you think if a leader from another country made the statements president trump did? it was a great question. he didn't get an answer. why isn't there a system in place? >> right. this whole discussion, which tends to be politicized and people will dismiss -- >> it is insulting and hurtful. >> you can take some clinical assessments like low cognitive capacity or diminished ability to make decisions, which are used to describe people who have alzheimer's disease, used in
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clinical assessments. they're not meant to be judgments. they're just how doctors speak. when you bring it to the political realm, it's felt to be purely subjective, just an attack. but if there were a process by which, as we see candidates get older and older, there were an objective evaluation by neurologists, psychologists, and the information was shared in a transparent manner, and voters, the american public, the cabinet can make of it what they will, but they have the information, it'd inform the process. >> you have been following the trumps and particularly the president for several years. how do these descriptions strike you? when was the last time you interacted with him? >> i've been following him more than several years. more like 25 years, when i first started interviewing him for my book. it was about him, his father, his grandfather. really looking at the whole family culture, the background of this family over a century. the striking thing about him during the course of my interviews for the book was
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interested only in himself. not interested in talking about anything else. would veer off of any other conversation. and very defensive. the minute i raised any question about anything that could remotely seem to be not even critical but just asking something, he was on it, no. wanted to move on. does that mean -- so at that time, did that mean that he was, you know, unstable? at that time, it seemed to me to mean he was certainly highly defensive and incredibly competitive and combative. i think that's now morphed into what we've seen now. someone who only wants to talk about himself and is, you know, ready at -- something that can be remotely anything other than idoltrist, ready to jump.
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>> the administration is not obligated to release the results, right? >> right. the 25th amendment is set up really so that if there is a president who recognizes his or her own incapacity and the cabinet agrees, this would be best for the vice president to move in. it's not a process that's meant to seize power from someone who is unwilling. if they're unwilling to even undergo assessments and tests and share the results, it's not going to be possible to act. >> now that tax reform has gone through, the economy is booming, republicans feel some sense of optimism and accomplishment, does it seem likely in any way that members of the gop will take this seriously, will want to take a look at the president's mental fitness? because it almost seems as he could become more unruly or unhinged, they seem to be more on his team this weekend than they were a few months ago. >> yeah. i think that's exactly right, stephanie. you don't have to look a whole
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lot further than some of the clips you played in the intro to the segment. >> lindsey graham and bob corker. >> right. well, lindsey graham now a defender of the president. bob corker now flying on air force one down to tennessee with the president. even mitt romney entertained talks after that scathing speech, after president trump was elected. entertained thoughts about being his secretary of state. pursued the possibility. i think you see, as this conversation escalates, both sides sort of retreating to their corners. republicans defending the president. democrats going after him really more aggressively, as a 2018 campaign issue. that's going to make it a whole lot harder. i mean, talk about impeachment being a high bar, removal based on impeachment by the senate, well, to voluntarily remove the president, you need only need the cabinet and vice president, which are unlikely, you need two thirds votes in both chambers.
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it is a impeachment. i see zero chance of that happening here. >> it was the president doubling down this weekend, the one who said he went to the best schools, calling himself a stable genius. nikki haley made a much better argument on the sunday shows when she said, is he unstable? how about what he did in syria, with isis, north korea, tax reform. instead of the president being silent and saying, these are my policy wins, or look at neil gorsuch, he's defending his own mental health. it seems like a wrong move from a strategy perspective. what is the white house's game plan, ken? >> oh, sorry. the white house's game plan is to push back aggressively. it is a little puzzling. i think he's brought the debate on himself by going out there on twitter in a way that is not -- does not really well serve him. i mean, he makes the comparison to ronald reagan.
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that's a bad comparison. not the least of which because it was later determined that ronald reagan did show symptoms. people around him suggested he was showing signs of alzheimer's during his final years in office. it was well into his second term that we even had that discussion. and the way the white house responded to it then was, essentially, not to engage, or to engage privately. certainly not to go out publicly and essentially welcome the deba debate, as president trump is doing now. i think that's not the recipe to try to move fapast this, which the goal of the white house and trump himself. trump is making it harder for that to occur. >> we'll leave it there. that's when i wonder, if they think this is tabloid garbage, not fit to line a bird cage, why engage it by engaging? by having a cease and desist order. you're selling books and have us talking about it for days and days. thank you so much. this story is not going away. we'll leave it there. golden globes is where we're
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hea heading next. golden globes took a political stand last night and sparked new calls for a female president, specifically, oprah winfrey. we'll discuss rumors of a 2020 run. first, we're throwing back to 1988. take a look at this. >> this sounds like political presidential talk to me. i know people have talked to you about whether or not you want to run. would you ever? >> probably not. but i do get tired of seeing the country ripped open. >> why would you not? >> i don't think i have the inclination to don't. >> it doesn't pay as well. >> no. people keep asking me if i miss the mayhem?stuff, does waiting around trying to protect your house from a lighting strike give me the same rush as being golfball-sized hail? of course not. but if you can stick to your new year's resolution, then i can stick to mine and be the best road flare i can... what? you couldn't even last two weeks?
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we are back now on "velshi & ruhle" to talk about the empowerment of women at last night's golden globes in full display. women and men alike were dressed in black in support of time's up, the global me too movement that cast a long shadow over the ceremony. the first major award show since explosive allegations against movie mogul harvey weinstein
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rocked the entertainment industry. in a display of activism, several presenters and winners claimed it was time for change. ope oprah winfrey's stirring speech while accepting the cecil b. demille award was stunning. politics aside, it was a beautiful moment in american culture, and it gave you a renewed sense of optimism about the power of our democracy. oprah captivated the all-star crowd with her poignant message of female empowerment which was, of course, the message of the night. >> what i know for sure is speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. and i'm especially proud and inspired by all of the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. each of us in this room are
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celebrated because of the stories that we tell. this year, we became the story. for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. but their time is up. their time is up. i want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon. and when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty
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phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, me too again. thank you. >> that was a motivating message. it's amazing because if you think about the time we're living in right now, so divided, oprah winfrey talked about the incredible women and the phenomenal men. it is time to come together. a message of unification, no matter who delivers it, is something we certainly need to hear and something we need to live. joining me now, one of the organizers of the time's up movement, related legal defense fund, tina chen. she served as chief of staff for first lady michelle obama during most of her years in the white house. "new york times" fashion director and chief fashion critic, vanessa friedman. tina, from the red carpet to
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seth meyers' monologue, when he started with, here we are in 2018, pot is finally legal and sexual harassment is not, kind of set the tone. clearly, across the night, it was an empowering tone. but where do we go from here? where's the action step beyond inspiration? >> well, what i'm so delighted about with time's up is there is an action plan, starting with the legal defense fund i've been working on. the time's up legal defense fund is to support those women who speak their truth and men. what we also know from the reporting is when women and men speak out about harassment and abuse in the workplace, they're sometimes subject to more harassment and abuse, including from people in my own profession, lawyers. that's what the time's up legal defense fund is about. we're going to step out and support them. we have volunteer lawyers coming forward. we have over $16 million raised at the gofundme page from 14,000 donors, big and small. i really urge volunteer lawyers
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and people who need help to go to the national miz law website, who is our partner in this. it's one of the big action steps. >> legal defense fund is one avenue. how about a little campaign fund raising? oprah 2020 is trending on twitter. her long-time partner, stedman graham, told the "l.a. times," quote, it is up to the people. she'd absolutely do it. >> well, that is great news from stedman. >> if that's great news, does that mean you'd support oprah if she was running? she is an amazing leader. i've watched oprah for years. i'm from chicago and i remember when she started at "a.m. chicago. her compassion and caring for people comes through. she's jagain genuine. >> was last night an inspiring speech, oprah accepting an award and helping people come together
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and stand up for themselves, or is she laying the groundwork to potentially run, by your estimation? >> i don't know what she was thinking. my guess is that what she was really thinking about is what was in the last part of the speech. those young girls that are out there right now watching those of us who are adults struggle through this. and her message to them to say, take heart and see that a new day is coming to your dreams can get fulfilled and not quashed. >> before the show started, beyond their speeches, we know they were making a bold statement, so were many of the men, taking to the red carpet dressed in black. really to draw attention to the me too movement. i want to share stunning pictures taken by the "new york times" photographer damon winter. what stood out to you beyond the black? yes, some of the women were in tuxedos. some were modestly dressed. others were out there just as glamorous as ever. many said, this is my true self. >> well, i think there was a real fear when it was first announced that they were going to dress all in black or attempt
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to all dress in black and it would be depressing or funereal or this statement of horror. in fact, they talked a lot about solidarity, both on the red carpet and in their speeches. i think it really did come through. at the same time, you know, each woman looked individual. there was this sense of real delight in what they were wearing and ownership over their choices, which hasn't always been there in the past. >> it is an interesting way to put it. they were all in black, but there really was a sense of joy and pride. it came through. in the many speeches you heard that were strong and outspoken, they really weren't negative or condemning in any big way. tina, i want to point out, one of the speeches beyond oprah's that really stood out for me, where laura dern spoke. here's what she said.
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>> many of us were taught not to tattle. it was a culture of silencing, and that was normalized. may we teach our children that speaking out without the fear of rhett retribution is our new north star. >> the north star moment just stuck with me through this morning because these days, we have so much worries about the messages we're sending to our kids. i remember last year, when president trump told the "new york times," bill o'reilly, he couldn't have done that to the women. i know him. he's a really good guy. he should sue them and take it all the way. i thought to myself, a remark like that is like a human resources violation video that we have to watch at work. now here we are, less than a year later, with a night like we had last night, and laura dern talking about our new north star. is it really a new day? >> oh, i think so. i think so. i mean, this is a wave and a movement that's coming across
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the country like we've never seen before. even though we've had so many incidents in the past, starting even with anita hill decades ago, and the change didn't come. but i have to give credit to the celebrities in hollywood. they have used the power of their megaphone and their voice to launch this. importantly, stephanie, not just for women in the entertainment industry, but for low-income women. you know, our time's up legal defense fund is especially there for low-income workers, the hotel worker, the fast food worker, the waitress, the janitor alone in a dark office building at night. those voiceless really haven't been able to carry out the north star for fear of retribution. that's one of the things through the time's up legal defense fund we're trying to address. >> this is a time for everyone to rise up and help those who need our help. thank you so much, tina vanessa friedman.
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great conversation. h.r. mcmaster says russia is meddling is another presidential election and it is the election of an american ail lly. we'll break it down with other known cases of kremlin interference. you're watching "velshi & ruhle" on msnbc. and at our factory in, 1,200 workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get.
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you're watching "velshi & ruhle." we have breaking news. nbc news has confirmed the trump administration will announce later today that it is ending
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temporary legal status for 200,000 people from el salvador who have been living in the united states for nearly two decades. they'll have until september of 2019 to seek permanent residency or risk deportation. these people were granted temporary protection status in 2001 following a pair of devastating earthquakes that took place in el salvador. the move by the trump administration has been expected after the administration ended the same status last year for immigrants from honduras and haiti. also, there are worries over russian interference with democratic elections. it comes after the u.s. intelligence agencies agree it already happened here in the united states. remember, interference and collusion are not the same thing. now, of course, you would not know that by listening to president trump. >> they did a rotten job of running. but to convince people about this hoax, that was probably the
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thing that they did best. it was one great hoax. no, russia did not help me. that, i can tell you. russia has 20% of uranium. for whatever reason, and a lot of people understand what those reasons may be, i think that's your russia story. that's your real russia story. not a story where they talk about collusion, and there was none. it was a hoax. democrat ilawmakers will have t decide. they can continue their obsession with the russian hoax, or they can serve the interests of the american people. >> despite the president's comments, it is a genuine threat to our democracy. america is not the only target. business insider reports national security adviser h.r. mcmaster said russia has set their sights on the upcoming election in mexico. this is hardly the first or
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second time they attempted to interfere in another country's process. a few months ago, spanish officials became convinced russian-based groups used social media to spread support for the country's vote on the catalonian independence. dutch groups said russian-backed groups attempted to spread propaganda and fake news during their election last year. they concede the kremlin did not succeed in substantially influencing the process. local news in norway is reporting their labor parliament group was targeted by a, quote, foreign agent, reportedly said to be the same russian intelligence group that targeted the democratic national committee during the 2016 election. and last november, uk prime minister theresa may targeted russia in a formal speech, insisting that the kremlin attempted to interfere in their elections and, quote, weaponize information. see, i didn't even have time to get to france on that one. i assure you, emmanuel macron
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has a lot to say. we should note, this has been a russian playbook for years. they interfered in ukrainian elections in 2014 as part of their strategy to reclaim power over former soviet states. of course, this level of control and meddling dates back to the foundation of the soviet union a century ago. i'm joined by christopher woody, the one who broke this story about u.s. intelligence, becoming aware of potential russian interference in mexico. there's a lot to unpack here. now, for a long time, we know russians' actions have been limited basically to their neighbors. why are they emboldened? is it the power of social media, meaning their reach is endless? >> social media certainly gives russia new avenues in which to do this. i would say in the case of mexico specifically, you know, affecting the outcome of the election likely gives russia a means to, in their eyes, undercut the u.s., by driving a wedge between the u.s. and
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mexico, which have relationships on security, economics, trade, immigration, things like that. in latin america, russia had long ties to governments there. in russia's eyes, i'm sure in the region and elsewhere in the world, if they can put in power governments that are, if not friendly, at least not hostile to russia, that benefits their interest around the world. >> is it telling that u.s. intelligence services are able to acknowledge interference? again, interference doesn't mean collusion. the president could acknowledge interference, but he doesn't. what does that tell us? >> well, i think it is in keeping with the fact that, you know, multiple u.s. agencies have said there was russia interference in the u.s. election but it's been little remarked upon by the white house. it tells you that they're seeing -- mcmaster and other agencies haven't detailed what they've seen or how they're detecting it. there are questions to be asked there. the fact they're seeing it and commenting on it publicly is
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noteworthy. >> it is something we're going to continue to pay attention to. interference, no bueno. christopher woody, thank you so much. when we come back, jared curb near, we kushner, we know he is trump's de facto diplomat to israel. trump and his family have long records of business ties to the country. we'll dig into that next. you're watching "velshi & ruhle" on msnbc. dad!!! can you drive me to jessica's house? uuughhh! ♪ this is what our version of financial planning looks like. tomorrow is important, but so is making the most of the house before they're out of the house. spend you life living. find an advisor at
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welcome back to "velshi and ruhle." put down your coffee, turn up the volume. you're going to want to hear this. there is new scrutiny today over president trump's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner and his family's company business dealings. while kushner did resign his position as chief executive of kushner companies back if january, is he still the beneficiary of trusts that own stakes in several major investments including kushner properties. those trusts are worth upwards of $761 million. making the financial future of kushner companies of particular interest. new reporting in the "new york times" shows just before accompanying the president to the middle east last may, kushner's family company received a $30 million investment from one of israel's largest financial institutions to put new equity into maryland apartment complexes owned by the kushner company. last november, bloomberg news reported that israel's largest
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asset manager helped finance his company $146 million purchase of an apartment complex in new jersey. the deal was questioned since the loan agreement carried particularly cumbersome financial conditions. and more reporting found kushner company coowns 15 buildings worth more than 150 million bucks with roz steinmetz, a member of one of israel's wealthiest families. roz steinmetz's uncle is a billionaire who made his fortune in diamonds and his company has come under u.s. grand jury investigation suspected of bribing officials in the african country of guinea to get rights to huge iron ore deposits. the business sized israeli financial institutions and a long-standing relationship with benjamin netanyahu caused some of us to wonder if kushner can be seen as a neutral arbiter when it comes to peace in the
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middle east. joining me is a dear friend, tim o'brien, bloomberg view executive editor. tim, what exactly does this mean for the administration's peace efforts? when we say jared kushner has a relationship with benjamin netanyahu, when jared kushner was a child, netanyahu stayed in the kushner family home. i think he even slept in jared's room. >> he did a sleepover in livingston, new jersey. the family's relationship with israel goes way back, obviously. jared's ancestors are holocaust survivors. the family's always taken middle east policy in israel very seriously. i think the thing that gets raised here is obviously this sort of guillotine issue hanging over the trump administration for a long time which is financial conflicts of interest. is policy in the middle east being made purely because it's good policy or is it being made because at some level it also benefits the kushner family's
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financial interests. >> you can question it all day long. but this guillotine hanging doesn't seem to bother the trumps. they keep on. >> i willing. >> i willing through it. >> it's a cloud. and for anyone who is concerned about good government, ethics in government, conflicts of interest, it's an issue that hasn't gone away. events like this only make it more problematic. >> what could this mean for jared? i mean jared might be publicly embarrassed by "the new york times" reporting but he can easily say fake news, i don't pay attention. at the end of the day, if it's helping his family business, then he won. >> well, that's why there needs to be some political courage here from the gop to say in a nonpartisan, nonideological way, what do we want out of our government and what is good governance and why do we have ethics watchdogs in the federal government to police these kinds of issues? >> do we really? take yourself to twitter.
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look at walter schaub who used to run the oge, no louder critic of ethics violations than walter or richard painter or norm eisen are going after it every single day. this administration doesn't care into this administration doesn't care. it should bother every person who vote trump into office and it should bother anyone who wants to make sure we get good policy free of you know, padding one's wallet. we don't have that with the kushners. there's no way you can say when jared kushner goes with the president to the middle east last may and shortly before that menorah one of the biggest insurers in israel invests in a kushner property, that doesn't present at least a problem. it's much more than that. there's a pay to play element here. >> do you think we'll hear from jared kushner? >> you don't hear from jared. you won't now because there's other issues involved here like 666, fifth avenue.
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the famous skyscraper that the kushners are deeply indebted on. jared is under investigation right now for mueller involving whether or not he traded government favors i think to bankers from china and russia. >> could israel take us back to mueller? because we mentioned earlier bannon came out this weekend and apologized to don junior to, president trump. he said nothing about jared and ivanka who he's been highly critical of. this money trail we're watching that we hear it could be money laundering, could that take to us israel? >> of course it could. it's going to take us anywhere jared kushner or his family or the trumps have gotten money. it will hinge off this central issue. did they, were their quid pro quos in exchange for money flowing to the kushners or trumps. this latest reporting is another example of that. >> the life of a business heir getting harry. tim o'brien of bloomberg, thank you so much. and here is one more moment from the golden globes that
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caught our attention. >> rici taylor, a name i know and i think you should know, too. i just hope that rici taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tore metropolitaned in those years and even now tormented goes marching on. >> and to that we thank oprah winfrey for giving us today's monumental american. rici taylor was born in 1919 in alabama. when she was just 24 years old in 1944, taylor was kidnapped by six white men while leaving church. walking home to her husband and infant, the men gang raped her and left her blindfolded by the side of the road. despite death threats taylor went to the naacp to tell her story. her attackers were never charged. but the assault and the related court cases inspired some of the first organized protests in the
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african-american community. leading to the civil rights movement. in 2011, the alabama house of representatives officially apologized for the state's failure to prosecute her attackers. taylor died on december 28th. she was 97 years old. that is an extraordinary woman. a strong, strong american. if you have a monumental american tweet us us # #velshirhule. what an hour this has been. what a way to start the week. thank you for watching this hour. i'm stephanie rhule. my partner in crime ali velshi will be back here with me tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern. right now, i hand off to another great american, andrea mitchell for "andrea mitchell reports." >> right now on "andrea mitchell reports," question time. an nbc news exclusive report. the president's lawyers talking to the special counsel's office whether and how the president would agree to an interview while the president insists he
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has done nothing wrong. >> there's been no collusion. there's been no crime. and in theory, everybody tells me i'm not under investigation. maybe hillary is. i don't know, but i'm not. but there's been no collusion. there's been no crime. >> stable genius, fire and fury in the white house as steve bannon groundball tos and the author tells joann meeka there's something wrong in the oval office. >> every time you speak to him, you think this is a wing nut. there is something really alarming in ways that you cannot even begin to describe. and time's up. the me, too movement paints the red carpet black and this speech launches a new hashtag, oprah 2020. >> for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power


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