tv Morning Joe MSNBC February 1, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PST
the beginning i want everything out. i want this thing, i want the american people, a, to know the truth and b, that the investigators and what not have everything, it's really unique in that we've lean sod far forward to get this out. >> john kelly says he wants everything out. even if the fbi says it's a dumb and dangerous idea. republicans may get their memo released today. but it will not be the last shoe to drop. as it was framed on twitter quote never start a leak war against the fbi. we learned from reporting yesterday that the agent accused by republicans of targeting trump was actually behind a decision that crippled the clinton campaign. and if john kelly really wants full disclosure, then hope hicks has questions to answer after reportedly saying last year, that potentially incriminating emails, quote will never get out. the reporter behind that story joins us in just a moment. of course, the president could always settle it once and for
all by agreeing to speak directly with bob mueller. that is, if he doesn't fire him first. that's where we are, welcome to morning joe on this thursday, february 1st. with us, veteran columnist and msnbc contributor mike barnicle. republican strategist and political commentator, susan del purse yoe and political reporter for the "washington post" and moderator of washington week on pbs, robert costa. we'll get to the nunes memo in a moment. but first your take on two reports from yesterday that really could frame all that we're seeing involving the president's attacks, against the mueller probe. the first is the new report that president trump allegedly asked deputy attorney general rod rosenstein about his loyalty during a meeting. according to sources, rosenstein visited the white house in
december. and that during the visit, the president questioned rosenstein about which direction special counsel robert mumueller's investigation was heading and trump asked the deputy a.g. if he was on my team according to sources familiar with the meeting. those sources said rosenstein replied, of course we're all on your team, mr. president. mr. rosenstein is the highest justice department official in charge of the russia investigation. since attorney general jeff sessions recused himself. now the second report, joe, concerns the fbi agent that president trump and republican in congress accuse of being biased towards the president. according to cnn, that agent, peter strzok. was involved in drafting the letter that would later be then sent by then-fbi director james comey to members of congress on october 28, 2016 that letter stated that the agency had
received new information about hillary clinton's emails and was reopening an investigation it had closed in july of 2016, after finding no criminal wrongdoing. cnn adds that strzok sent a text message expressing reservations about comey making a public announcement just days before the election. and those messages provided to congress, shows strzok grappling with the fallout of making the letter public. strzok reportedly supported reopening the clinton investigation once the new information was discovered. republicans accuse strzok of being sympathetic to clinton while seeking to undermine donald trump during the 2016 campaign season. this reveals new insight into exactly what strzok felt about anything and whether it matters at this point. >> mika, it's not even a fair fight. you have the republicans constantly coming at all of us,
coming at anybody who dares to try to hold this president accountable. with conspiracy theories, outright lies, loyalty oaths, we saw again, another loyalty oath. this time to rod rosenstein, the very man in charge of the investigation of the president. again, what we talked about yesterday, again happening here, but in a highly unethical personal way, where republicans and trumpists, trump loyalists are actually investigating the investigators. here, you have an autocratic move, you have a president who is under investigation, demanding loyalty of the man in charge of the investigation. that's not america. that's turkey. that happens in turkey. that happens in russia. that happens in china. that does not happen here. that's what the president did. he did the same thing basically with mccabe and mccabe didn't
give him the answer he wanted. so he fired him. and of koufrs we remember he did the same thing with jim comey over the candlelight dinner, the memorable candlelight dinner at the white house, demanded a loyalty oath. james comey did not give him the loyalty oath because he was running the investigation and the president fired him as well. the other one that's fascinating, peter strzok, who has been put at the center of this deep-state conspiracy theory by trump sycophants and mouth-breathers on tv, they come up, devin nunes comes up with a different conspiracy theory it seems, every time donald trump gets in big trouble. remember last year, trump lied about barack obama crawling around in fatigues and bugging, wiretapping trump tower phones. something bizarre like that that's as truthful as what he
claimed on twitter. so the entire federal government did all they could do to try to prove that happened. nobody could prove it. everybody said it was a lie. the fbi said it was a lie. every agency said it was a lie. so devin nunes, lies to the cameras goes to the white house and he puts that conspiracy theory out there. it ends up being a lie. here we had then a week ago, ron johnson sounding like mccarthy, talking about a secret society and corruption at the highest levels of the fbi. it ended up being a lie. so peter strzok is at the center of the deep state conspiracy to take down donald trump. yet we learned yesterday, that peter strzok supported reopening the investigation helped draft the crucial comey letter to
congress, that ended hillary clinton's campaign. willie, historians will look back -- they will say it wasn't russia that elected donald trump. and it wasn't this, it wasn't that, it was that comey letter that did more to defeat hillary clinton than anything else. and peter strzok, who is supposedly in the middle of this great, harry potter-like secret society, deep state conspiracy -- he supported that and helped draft the letter that effectively ended hillary clinton's presidential campaign. >> first of all joe, when you criticize mouth breathers on tv i take personal offense. but what you have right now is -- peter strzok is a microcosm of attacks, they are now suddenly twisted from remember in 2016 during the end of the campaign, they were the reason that hillary clinton was prevented from being president.
according to the attacks on the fbi now it's been totally flipped is that they're an organization like peter strzok that has been attacking president trump. bob costa, you've now got out in the open according to an fbi statement that this release of the memo is a glaring omission, they have grave concerns, christopher wray is worried about it. they say the nunes memo actually might hurt the country, it might hurt the investigation here. >> we saw in the 2016 campaign, this institutional whiplash in the political battle in this country. at first, the right thought that when, then attorney general loretta lynch met on the tarmac with former president bill clinton, that the fbi was corrupt. the justice department was corrupt. the then the left revolts when the election happens and president trump wins and they blame director comey. now you have this war against the leadership from the right. this is nonstop political battle in this country.
and i think even trump allies wondering, speaking of rudy giuliani, the former new york mayor last night. he said you have to be careful at this kind of moment, because people inside the department of justice and the fbi are very nervous about having some kind of huge public war with this administration. and other trump allies tell me you could see some resignations and the doj or the fbi if the memo is released. they think their credibility is on the line. >> you think christopher wray, bob costa, is he someone who could step aside, he put his name on this fbi statement yesterday. >> inside the administration there's a lot of speculation about that why else would you put a statement -- you're putting yourself out there. as the head of the fbi, his name is not specifically on it it comes from wray, he's the director of the fbi. the administration moves against him, the president does not respect his own fbi's wishes, it puts him in a pretty tough position, bureaucratically and
politically. >> so, joe, just sort of moving ahead and then we'll move back, but how can we not confront the reality here, that so far, republicans in congress have been so compliant, and so forgiving to things no other president could ever, could ever make happen. then we should confront the fact that president trump would fire bob mueller. and what will republicans do then? will that be okay with them as well? >> well unfortunately we can't trust paul ryan, and now it grieves me to say it, but general kelly, a man who has dedicated so much of his life to this country, and has given so much to this country, we can't trust either one of these men to do the right thing. i find it hard to believe that at the beginning of february of 2018, that i just said those
words. but you have paul ryan -- what? >> what do we know about trump at this point that makes us believe that he wouldn't fire bob mueller? what is one piece of evidence that he would not do this? >> there's no evidence that if he could fire bob mueller today, he would fire bob mueller today. as i have said before, the founders of this country, drafters of our constitution anticipated a president who would be so taken by power that he would become an autocrat and he would seek tyrannical powers, that is taken care of in our constitution. but mike barnicle, they never, ever, allowed their imaginations to be darkened by the belief that when america's constitution was challenged, when the rule of law was challenged, when constitutional norms were
challenged -- that they, that that grave challenge to our republic would be met by compliant members of congress. and i must say, and yes, we have to add, a chief of staff who served honorably, general kelly. who now are both ignoring the fbi director at the deputy attorney general's warning. the justice department's warning. their own justice department's warnings. republicans, one and all, warning them, do not release this memo, it is not in america's best interests. it is not good for our national security. >> each day we sit here and people in "the new york times," the "washington post" and people out in the country sit each day, thinking that we have reached a critical point in this story. but each day there is a new critical point.
and today's critical point is this you've just outlined part of it. will christopher wray, the sitting fbi director, be forced personally, on a point of honor, to resign, to leave the fbi because of what is happening? on monday, christopher wray, the fbi director and assistant deputy attorney general rod rosenstein go to the white house to speak to general kelly, to urge him to not have the president release this memo. they are told no, we're going to go ahead with what we think is right. the factual aspects of this are mind-boggling. when you consider that this begins with the request for a fisa warrant. it was an existing fisa warrant that had been sitting on carter page for months. it was basically an extension of an existing warrant. there is no conspiracy here. christopher wray asks the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes on sunday, asks the
chairman for the right to speak to the committee, because of his concerns about the release of the warrant. devin nunes refuses to let christopher wray, the fbi director, speak to the committee, to outline his concerns. so the fbi issues the statement, the unsigned statement yesterday, and now we are at the juncture where christopher wray is going to have to decide whether he has to resign in protest over this. that's the -- >> the great scandal again, mike, the great scandal that these republicans are clinging to, which of course, before it was, harry potter-like secret society that ended up being a lie. it was a joke about a vladimir putin calendar. then you actually had members of congress, and united states senator actually telling americans that it proved there was corruption at the highest reaches of the fbi. it ended up being a lie. they were just joking. now you have devin nunes who made a fool of himself going down to the white house, with no
information, he was a courier for donald trump, held a press conference, gave information, ended up lying about a masking controversy that didn't exist. any self-respecting speaker of the house would have dismissed him from his duties as intel chairman at that point. now he's coming forward. as you said, they have cooked, they have cooked facts in a memo. devin nunes didn't even read this memo, the underlying details to the memo. republicans didn't. can't vouch for its accuracy. and yet, because donald trump wants to put out a memo that the fbi and his own justice department says would be dangerous, they're going to push it out. what is this for, mike, as you said again? it was just for an extension of a fisa warrant against carter page, one that was already existing. talk about a nothing burger. that they're willing to
compromise america's national security over? >> before we get to that, this involves joe's former political party, choosing to sit and exist in a fog of political rhetoric rather than the facts of this case. >> it's been incumbent on the fbi to step in and try to prevent it donald trump said the other night after the state of the union, 100% i'm going to release the memo. breaking story from the "new york times," the special counsel is expected to interview a former trump spokesman said to have witnessed a conversation between president trump and tom aides that discussed concealing the purpose of the 2016 trump tower meeting between his campaign leadership and russians who promised damaging information on hillary clinton. three sources tell "the new york times" that mark curalo who resigned as a trump legal team spokesman in july plans to tell the mueller probe about a previously undisclosed conference call between the white house and hope hicks where he alleges hicks said that
emails written by donald trump junior who said he was eager to receive political dirt about clinton from the russians, will never get out. that left corallo with concerns that hicks could be obstructing justice. a lawyer for hicks responded quote, she never said that and the idea that hope hicks ever suggested that emails or other documents would be concealed or destroyed is completely false, according to the times, corralo told colleagues that he notified a legal team of the conversation and jotted down notes to memorialize it. and shared his concerns with chief strategist steve bannon. contacted about the the "times" yesterday, corralo said he did not dispute the account shared by his colleagues but declined to elaborate further. a source confirms to nbc news that corralo has been contacted by the special counsel and agreed to an interview likely to take place within the next two weeks. joining us now one of the story's reporters, mack capuzo. we've known many of the particulars of this meeting it
was nick yated on promise of dirt on hillary clinton and donald trump jr. said he loved it and held the meeting. we didn't know the hope hicks angle to the meeting and possible concealment of the meeting aboard air force one. >> when we and my colleagues at the "times" went to the white house in july, of last year, and said we knew about this trump tower meeting, we had a list of questions, the first two questions on the list was what was the meeting about? and what did you think the meeting was going to be about? and we got misdirection. it turns out there was a big dispute between mark corralo, a spokesman for the legal team and another white house aides, including hope hicks who had helped craft the statement saying this was about russian adoption. it was a big dispute about this. and apparently on the conference call, they're arguing over whose statement is more misleading 0or
more reckless. at one point according to corralo she says don't worry about the emails, those will never see the light of day. he's going to tell mueller, i was concerned that was a hint of obstruction. that they were going to try to somehow keep those emails or destroy those emails or conceal those emails. >> is there any interpretation, matt, based on your reporting, that's not obstruction of justice? that the concocting a story and cooking this up to cover the meeting and say it's about something that it wasn't -- by the way, having the president of the united states dictate the letter that made up the story? >> well that's one of the things that's really interesting here is we know that, that the statement, is one of roughly a dozen things that bob mueller and his team want to talk to president trump about as part of their interview that's being negotiated right now. and there's a school of thought in the trump adviser world, that, that mueller doesn't have the right to come in and ask anything he wants.
he has to stick to the four corners of the legal mandate and you can only ask questions about crimes. and lying to "the new york times" is not a crime. misleading "the new york times" is not a crime. and so there's a school of thought that donald trump should say hey, look, i don't need to answer questions to you about what i said to the "times" or not. it's not obstruction to lie to the "times." so that is, that's playing out. that very question you just asked is playing out right now. in back and forth between the president's team and bob mueller's team. >> but mack, prosecutors i understand that's playing back and forth. but prosecutors have long looked at misleading public statements to learn the intent of their targets. and if they're making misleading public statements, if they are lying, that's always been seen as discoverable by courts to try to figure out state of mind, and if there were a bigger conspiracy to lie and obstruct justice. isn't that right? >> absolutely. it certainly is something that prosecutors have used in order
to say look, you knew there must have been something shady going on here. because when he was asked directly about it by reporters, he obfuscated. it's definitely in the wheelhouse of what prosecutors want to know. is the question of whether it proves obstruction and is evidence of obstruction is an analysis you can only do when you put all the facts together. we should say, bob trout, the lawyer for hope hicks, who is not normally a media guy, issued a pretty flat denial. and not one of those washington nondenial-denials this was a denial-denial. that did not get said, we did not try to obstruct anything and there's reason to believe that even if she wanted to conceal those emails, those emails at that point were already prepared, stamped and on their way to capitol hill and to bob mueller at that point. even if hope had tried to throw herself in front of that train, it's not clear that she would have been able to do it. what we're really talking about
is was there intent to do something. >> thank you very much for your reporting this morning. and susan del pursio, thinking big-picture about the republican party, republicans across america, a lot of them are worried about things like going to work. or worried about the economy or worried about how exactly they're going to get through the next year. i don't think they're looking at this as closely as we are, step by step. but what's your concern, long-term, as we confront these issues? and we look at potentially this president being surrounded by the mueller's team and certain things coming out? >> there's a few things i'm concerned about. going back to joe's point about speaker ryan. we know that donald trump came in with his autocratic tendencies, believes that the government serves him. i'm very concerned that now speaker ryan believes that he serves the president and not the country. and his leadership right now is putting republicans in a very difficult position. as they start running for
re-election. they want to support law enforcement for the most part. they have enough problems dealing with president trump. this is a big problem that the republicans running across the country are going to have to face. now i totally agree most people do not care about this investigation. on a day-to-day basis. but it's still going to overshadow and create a lot of problems as they go into the elections. >> impact the party. >> absolutely. >> we've said it before, mike barnicle, right now americans aren't focused. on this. as much as say people in the media and also people who actually care about the constitution of the united states of america. there are a lot of people far more rightly worried about getting a second job to be able to you know pay their rent. to be able to get their kids to community college. to be able to do whatever they can to get by. so they're not obsessing on this. nor should they be obsessing on
this right now. they have more important things in their personal life to obsess about. just because they aren't obsessing on it, doesn't mean it's not critical to this country. again we've seen the numbers, most americans weren't paying attention to watergate. and didn't want to hear about watergate and probably agreed with richard nixon when he said his statement of the union address in '74, hey, a year of investigation into watergate is enough. well, you know six months later, the guy who was run out of town, because he had committed a lot of crimes. >> correct on all counts, joe. one of the things about the relationship of the historical relationship between watergate and what's going on today is, that even the members of, the vast number of members of congress of the united states didn't snap to attention on watergate until the saturday night massacre. when archibald cox, special prosecutor, was fired. the assistant attorney general,
resigned. rather than fire him. and the country, i don't think and the congress specifically in the republican party, won't snap to attention until and unless something really critical happens. like the resignation of the fbi director, or the resignation of the joint resignation of the deputy attorney general of the united states. >> still ahead on "morning joe," one of matt apuzo's colleagues at "the new york times" is here with his reporting on the real target of the republican memo. none other than bob mueller. yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ s blnchts on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job.
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. in the face of the imminent release of the nunes memos, the fbi took a bold public stand yesterday. urging against disclosure. in a written statement that reads in part the fbi takes seriously its obligations to the fisa court and its compliance with procedures overseen by career professionals in the
department of justice, and the fbi. with regard to the house intelligence committee's memorandum, the fbi is provided with a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. as expressed, during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy. justice department officials told nbc news that the issues raised in the memo are so highly classified that they may not be in a position to point out errors or misleading statements. let's bring in washington correspondent "new york times" charlie savage who yesterday had a detailed news analysis about what republicans are up to with the nunes memo. charlie, what are they up to? >> at the end of the day, what this is about is going on offense as the best defense about bob mueller's russia investigation as it heats up and
gets closer to damaging president trump and by extension, the republican party. the chain of logic here is as follows -- first, you conflate the entire russia investigation with just the information gathered by chris steele. you ignore the hacking of the democratic emails, the use of social media accounts by russian trolls to drive up dissension in the system and so forth and you say all the russian investigation is the fountainhead of it, the beginning and end of it is the dossier of unverified allegations by chris steele, hired by democrats. you say he probably made it up because it was about smearing someone who is running against hillary clinton. it wasn't about him actually talking to real sources, who were telling him real things. this is just about the steele dossier. then you say the investigators got a warrant, as part of that investigation, by going to a judge and using mr. steele's next without explaining to the judge adequately that this was democratic paid-for opposition
research. and you ignore all the other information in that application. stuff that the fbi cannot talk about, to defend itself because that would blow every other source the country has, for figuring out what russia is up to. surveillance, human sources and so forth -- just steele, that's all this thing was, you make that scandalous. the third step is the memo says rod rosenstein used this, too, because he signed off on resubmitting it to the court for an extension. that means he's now vulnerable to attack as also complicit in this watergate-level offense. rod rosenstein stands between trump and mueller. the only person who can fire mueller. he has said he would refuse any legal order to fire mueller. the only way to make it legal is if he finds that mueller has committed misconduct and he has not seen any evidence of that. if rod rosenstein is fired because he uses this steele information and that was indeed scandalous or can be said to be scandalous, trump can put someone else in that role who
would be more accommodating and would be willing to say i see that there's a reap to fire mueller and shut down this investigation. >> and what many americans wouldn't see if this memo were released would be the supporting evidence that's actually classified, that the fbi can't tell americans, that would disprove that it was all based on the steele memo. it's got to be so disspiriting to be an fbi agent right now, because over the past 18 months it's been like watching a tennis match where first you have the democrats attacking the fbi. during the middle of the campaign while they were looking into hillary clinton. then you have the republicans attacking the fbi after they didn't charge hillary clinton. and then you had the democrats attacking the fbi, after you had comey and strzok send out that letter, ten days before the election. and now of course, you have the
republicans again attacking the fbi. because they're actually investigating what americans need them to investigate, and that is, russian interference and actually to see how many more members of the trump administration have committed crimes. we're already up to four and this investigation isn't over. >> it's clear that part of the rich tapestry of this extraordinary moment we've been living through is a frontal assault politically on the fbi and the justice department, the major institutions that are at least in theory supposed to protect and advance the rule of law in this country. i think they found themselves in a terrible position when both major candidates for president in the last election were the subject of open investigations. they didn't do that. that's what they found themselves in. and the damage from that is only accelerating as the republican party clearly now is pursuing a strategy of investigating the
investigators. which is having a corrosive effect. >> charlie, it's willie. i'm trying to put myself in the shoes of paul ryan or another leading republican who is not only going along with the release of the memo, but encouraging it. if it's not in the protection of the president, they're not doing this just to protect the president in the russia investigation blindly. i think some of them believe there is corruption in the fbi. i think some of them believe that those text messages between page and strzok actually indicate something inside the fbi that may have corrupted the investigation into russia. we've seen, we've seen contradictions of that. including today that peter strzok was the one who wanted to reopen the investigation into hillary clinton. i guess my question is when you talk to republicans as you look at this. is this a heart-felt sincere belief that there's corruption or do you believe they're trying to form a bubble to protect the president of the united states. >> i think you're right to point to paul ryan we keep talking
about devin nunes, this is the nunes memo and so forth. none of this would be possible without paul ryan's backing, he gave sort of an extraordinary press conference on tuesday, in which he said he wanted the memo out but was piously, it's obvious what this is about. the politics of this are just accelerating, and taking this country into a place where we haven't been before. one of the reasons i think we can discount the claim, including from paul ryan that this is just about worrying about civil liberties and americans about americans' privacy rights being violated by governments abusing their surveillance authority is that devin nunes and paul ryan just a few weeks ago pushed through a six-year extension of the national security agency and
fbi's warrantless surveillance program. and in the course of doing that, suppressed and prevented the house from voting on a reform measure that had bipartisan support coming out of the house judiciary committee that would have imposed greater safeguards for americans' privacy against abuses by government surveillance authorities. and so they clearly do not have that as a motivation of the political actions they're taking in real-time. >> charlie, thank you so much for being with us, we greatly appreciate it. as always. bob costa, let me ask you about the split. is there a split between house republicans and senate republicans? i know there's so many times when more conservative members of the house would go after bill clinton that republican senators, even conservative republican senator was say -- slow down, you're going to hurt yourself and you're going to hurt all of us in the process.
and there is always reluctance whenever we get too far out there. is there right now a concern? is there right now a divide between say chairman burr in the senate and chairman nunes in the house? and also rank-and-file senators in the senate who think that running political obstruction tore donald trump may end up hurting all republicans in november? >> you don't see senator bur's staffers at the senate intelligence committee coming up with a memo that they're now trying to release publicly. it's a totally different approach in the upper chamber. there is an evident divide when you're up at the capitol between senate republicans and house republicans when it comes to an approach. but they're not fighting too much, joe, because so many republicans in the senate will tell you that when they go home to their states and talk to their republican base, they're hearing every day on certain media outlets on talk radio, that the fbi and the department of justice, those institutions
are corrupt. and they note that the president believes that to an extent. and so they're not really willing to have this huge intraparty fight at this time. but they're very concerned and they keep telling us the red line is firing mueller. everything else they hope will just pass like a storm. >> bob, can i ask quickly, one quick follow up and to you, susan, bob, there's no doubt that when we're trying to figure out why paul ryan is doing what he's doing and why these members are doing what they're doing -- it's because among their base these actions having a witch hunt going after the fbi, even releasing classified information improperly, their base supports that and their donors support that. is that correct? >> it's deeper than that it's the members. think about speaker ryan. when you're at the capitol, you see this up close. when he goes to closed-door conference meetings at the capitol in the capitol basement.
members go up to the open mics and tell him to his face, release the memo. he's watching in the chamber as the president leaves the state of the union. members are leaning into the president the united states saying release the memo. this is the environment he confronts every day. that's, it's an explanation of sorts for how he's acting. he will have to answer to history happens all of these lawmakers will. regardless of what happens, but there is intense pressure, you sense it up there in the reporting from these members to keep moving forward in the house. >> there seems to also be a lot of divide within the house, the republican side, on other big issues of the president is interested in. such as immigration reform. daca. and also now, on infrastructure we know some republicans still hold true that we should be able to not go further. into debt. and we know there's hard-liners on the extreme right who believe there should be no path for immigration. can you explain the problems and what's kind of bubbling under the surface within the republican conference right now? >> sure, i write about this in today's "washington post" front
page with shawn sullivan. you look at the february 8th deadline is coming up real fast for these republicans in congress. and they still disagree even with about the president's own immigration proposal, the pathway to citizenship, conservatives in the house don't like it. they don't like the spending proposals. it's going to be very difficult at this moment, that's what they're trying to figure out at this retreat in west virginia, how do they get republicans in both chambers to get behind a spending deal so the government doesn't shut down again. still ahead, the latest on yesterday's deadly crash involving a garbage truck and an amtrak train carrying a number of republican lawmakers, a live report next on "morning joe."
climbed off. brad winstrop and dr. cassidy also were off. and they were working on the man who deceased, cpr performed for a long time. but didn't work. and then the other person who was severely injured. so we, they were working on the man that was injured for quite a while and for about 20 minutes. but he was breathing, obviously
very serious condition. >> that was republican senator jeff flake, one of the lawmakers who rushed to help at the scene of a deadly crash involving amtrak train carrying republican lawmakers and a garbage truck yesterday in rural virginia. joining us now from white sulfur spring west virginia, msnbc correspondent garrett hague. we know that one man died, a 28-year-old on that sanitation truck. what more can you tell us about happened yesterday? >> a 28-year-old virginia man, christopher foley, is the man who died on the train. another person in critical condition. his life may have been saved by some of those republican members of congress who acted very quickly to jump out of the train and try to begin life-saving work on him. six or seven of those members were doctors, and also jeff flake has found himself in the middle of these tragic and violent situations twice in the last year. he was on the scene and working to save lives during the baseball practice shooting over
the course of the summer. i talked to a couple of those doctors, who are on the scene yesterday afternoon and some of them expressed some reticence, some internal division about even coming to this retreat after the fact. one of the doctors, congressman burgess from texas said as soon as the incident was over all he could think about was going back to texas. but the conference will continue today, it started last night with a little bit of look-back on this moment from the vice president pence who spoke at the dinner last night at a moment of silence, a moment of prayer for this man who had died and for the other folks who were injured in this. but the republicans who are here feel like this is too politically important to scrap completely. in part they're going to be doing some look-ahead work, meeting on infrastructure, meeting with the president today, who is going to be here for about a two-hour lunch, secretaries mattis and tillerson will be here. a lot of it will focus on 2018. how do they sell the tax cut? how do they come up with a
strategy to try to stay in the majority? the vice president talked about that. at some length last night saying yes, the conventional wisdom is that republicans will lose seats this year. but that the conventional wisdom was that 2016 was that donald trump was never going to become president, so republicans should focus on selling their accomplishments, mainly the tax bill and try to continue to work through the lens and maybe they will remain the majority party after the elections in november. a big focus to the conversation today and into tomorrow morning, willie? >> facing a lot of retirements, we learned yesterday that trey gowdy, the congressman out of south carolina will not seek re-election come this fall. garrett, thanks so much. appreciate it. still ahead, we talk to author michael wolff whose reporting in "fire and fury" was referenced in today's "new york times'" front-page story about where bob mueller is zeroing in. a lot to talk about, when "morning joe" comes back.
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mike pence isn't a name we've talked about too much. he's at the retreat. how much of a key role will he play in 2018 in the midterm elections? >> a lot of these lawmakers are worried, especially in the house. they're looking at this march 13 special election in western pennsylvania. they're trying to run against minority leader nancy pelosi, make her a figure head for the left but they know a political wave could be coming. they'll count on pence to rally traditional republicans to the polls. >> robert costa, thanks for being on this morning. coming up, house intel committee member jim heinz tweeted "in a formal meeting i asked chairman nunes not once but twice if his memo would be released precisely as we reviewed it. he said yes then altered it.
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national security lawyers in the white house that work for me, work for the president, they're slicing and dicing it, looking at it so we know what it means and understands. >> did you see it? >> i did. >> what do you think? >> um -- it will be released pretty quick and the whole world can see it. >> do you think thing change the next day? >> i'll let all the experts decide that when it's released but this president -- it's so unique that he wants everything out so the american people can make up their own minds and if there's people to be held accountable, so be it. >> welcome back to "morning joe." >> unbelievable. he want he wants was that his attitude when he was a general? when he was in the hot zone, did he want that then? was that his attitude when hillary clinton was running two
years ago and republicans and journalists were going crazy that she may have mishandled classified information improperly and -- let everything out? yes, this president is unique, mi mika and his chief of staff is unique and wanting to put out information that the director of the fbi that they appointed not so long ago and the deputy attorney general, a republican, both of them republicans have said don't let this out, it is bad for america's national security, it is misleading. it could do damage to the intel communities general kelly knows better. donald trump doesn't care. general kelly knows better and he dared say this is unique and he wants to let everything out.
let everything out? really, general, when you have to director of the fbi saying it would be bad for america, let everything out? when you have the republican deputy attorney general saying it would be bad for america if you "let everything out"? you are correct, general, you are correct. this is unique. uniquely irresponsible. uniquely reckless, uniquely partisan and far, far beneath you. unbelievable, mika. it's just unbelievable. >> with us republican republican strategist susan del percio and joining us the host of "politics nation" and president of the national action network, al sharpton. also editor-in-chief of the "atlantic" magazine jeffrey goldberg is with us and "new york times" washington bureau chief elizabeth bumiller. great panel. >> hey, i -- >> joe? >> mika, i want to go to jeffrey
quickly and ask him. we've been saying for some time we may be in the middle of a slow-rolling saturday night massacre that ends up with the firing of robert mueller. how significant is it that you have general kelly and speaker of the house paul ryan playing along with devin nunes and donald trump who have both proven themselves to be extraordinarily reckless and irresponsible with the truth? >> right, well you have a situation in which nunes is not the important player here. without the cover of ryan and kelly, he doesn't get to do anything. it's very important to keep in mind that paul ryan could end this tomorrow by saying no, mueller is sacrosanct, we don't have to legislate his position, we can just say absolutely, he's going to do what he does but ryan and kelly and all the rest are going on with the
strategy -- which is a clever strategy, it might be immoral but it's clever -- of investigating the investigator. when you don't like where an investigation is going, you start to investigate the investigator and they are party to this and that's why we're in a -- i don't know if it's a uniquely dangerous moment but it feels like the beginning of a uniquely dangerous moment. >> elizabeth, i'll ask you whether you believe this is a uniquely dangerous moment when you have a general who is the president's chief of staff and you have paul ryan speaker of the house moving forward and releasing information, releasing a doctored memo, a memo that everybody that has looked at it says that it's not a partisan republican says misrepresents the truth. and they're releasing it despite the fact they got personal pleas from the fbi director and the deputy attorney general, both republicans, not to release this information. where does that put us as a
republic? >> it puts us in a very unusual position that the president of the united states is at war with his law enforcement apparatus. he's at war with the fbi and his own justice department in an attempt to protect himself from the mueller investigation. that is what all of these stories are about day after day after day. it's very confusing if you're watching this sometimes in the rest of the country but what is going on here is the president of the united states, aided by the republican leadership trying to undermine an investigation that is right now a threat to his presidency and, yes, it's an extraordinary situation where you have him fighting his own fbi director. >> let's bring in a member of the house intel committee, democratic congressman jim himes of connecticut. good to see you. the fbi in its statement yesterday said "we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that
fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy. that's not from you democrats on the intel committee, that's from the fbi. what specific concerns do you have about this memo becoming public. >> well, the main concern i have is that most of the allegations in the memo are simply not true and, you know, we heard not just from the fbi but from the department of justice that the release of this memo would be extremely reckless. and then of course the fbi reviewed it on sunday night and issued the statement they that they did and as you probably saw late last night, adam schiff and his staff discovered that def anyo -- devin nunes altered the memo before they sent it to the white house which is a clear violation of white house rules because we voted on one set of allegations, democrats voting against releasing it, then they altered the language to send it to the white house so what is happening here is not in any way, shape or
form clear. you have an attempt of the drawing on falsehoods and the victim will be the american people or at least a portion of the american people's confidence in the federal bureau of investigation and in the department of justice and that's a terrible, terrible cost to pay for an ugly political maneuver designed to protect the president from robert mueller's investigation. >> congressman nunes around his team say the changes made to the memo before it went to the white house were questions of grammar and punctuation and things like that. what do understand to be different in that memo than what you voted on? >> two things i would say about that. one, that's not what adam schiff, who reviewed both of them said. he said they recall material and substantive. number two, this is not an area in this there's a lot of play. when you're declassifying something and a committee votes to release a certain set of language, you don't then change
that. you can imagine what sort of doors that would open if after you took a vote on something, well, we're going to change the language in this bill. that's not the way to do business in the congress. and it's indicative of the process -- or i should say lack of process -- that has accompanied this whole sordid effort on the part of devin nunes and his staff. >> so congressman, take us inside the deliberations. take us inside your committee meetings when you said the allegations that nunes is putting forward is false, that would be nothing new because, of course, he lied about the masking scandal that he and trump concocted. you have the fbi directors saying the memo is false and misleading. he's a republican. you have a deputy attorney general also republican who says the allegations are false and misleading. what do republican members of your committee say in justifying the release of a memo, the
contents of which they haven't even read, they don't even nope the underlying information that staff members use to make that memo and won't even say whether or not this whole thing was coordinated with the white house? what do they say? >> well, it's a great question. i can tell you exactly what they say, joe. i asked devin nunes that question. i said, look these allegations are clearly made up but at a minimum before we go public on them and we voted on this, adam schiff made a motion. let's allow the fbi and the department of justice who are the two accused entities here, to come in and talk to us about these allegations, which are pretty clearly on the face of them false but to at least talk about them. joe, you were a member of congress, you did oversight, you knew if you had a problem with the department of defense or department of agriculture you didn't start firing off press
releases. >> never. >> you put them in front of the committee and had a conversation and tried to get at the truth. they voted unanimously to forbid -- to forbid -- the department of justice and the federal bureau of investigation to come in and talk to our committee. why? this answers your question. because devin nunes says they are under investigation, which is not true. an investigation is something set up deliberately, officially, that was never done. so what you've got here is just a mad dash to throw mud on a storied institution comprised of people who work hard and put their lives at risk for us everyday in the service of defending donald trump. >> and susan, i was on the arms services committee and we handled many times classified information. we always work with democrats, even as we were going through political turmoil, even as we were going through impeachment
proceedings. if it had to do with national security, there was never a time that a conservative republican and a liberal democrat wouldn't get together and figure out how to do this in a way the entire committee could move forward together. this is so unprecedented. this could only happen in the age of trump. >> and that brings up an interesting point. we know we know devin nunes basically deflected when he was asked "did you work with the white house on this?" we know he's not working on the other side of the aisle but was he working with the white house and part of my question on why would he deflect that is what do we know about the staffers who wrote the memo? apparently they're the only ones who read the underlying document there is. are they political appointees? are they people who worked for the house committee for a long time? i question their motives as
putting this memo together that everyone is riding on. >> i don't want to get into criticizing members of the staff but i will note that they are, along with trey gowdy and adam schiff, the only people -- and that means no other members of the committee, no other staff had an opportunity to look at the underlying classified information here in order to form a judgment about whether the allegations in their memo are true so the other staggering thing here was that as we voted to release this damaging false memo, members had no way of knowing, really, whether the work the staff had done was reflective of what was implied in the underlying intelligence. all right, member of the house intel committee jim himes, thank you very much. now to two other reports that frame all we're seeing involving the president's attacks against the mueller probe. the first is a report that president trump allegedly asked deputy attorney general rod
rosenstein about his loyalty during a recent meeting. according to cnn, rosenstein visited the white house in december to ask for the president's help in fighting off document demands from house intelligence chairman devin nunes and that during the visit the president questioned rosen sometime about which direction special counsel robert mueller's investigation was heading. trump then allegedly asked the deputy a.g. if he was "on my team." according to sources familiar with the meeting, they say rosenstein replied "of course, we're all on your team, mr. president." rosenstein is the highest justice department official in charge of the russia investigation since attorney general jeff sessions recused himself. the second report concerns the fbi agent that president trump and republicans in congress accuse of being biased toward the president. according to cnn, that agent, peter strzok, was involved in the drafting, the letter that
would be sent by then-fbi director james comey to members of congress just days before the election. that letter stated that the agency had new information about hillary clinton's e-mails and was reopening an investigation it had closed in july of 2016 after finding no criminal wrongdoing. strzok reportedly supported reopening the clinton investigation once the new information was discovered. joe? >> so rey rend al we have two very rich items. one, another loyalty oath from a president that's broken down every constitutional norm. you don't do that as president of the united states especially when the investigation is centered on you. if i had called the fbi when they were investigating me about something and asked a similar question i would be kicked out of congress. you don't do it. secondly -- and this is really i think in a way the most darkly humorous thing that came out
yesterday, another one of devin nunes ihorry potter conspiracy theories went up in thin air. you remember the harry potter secret society magic ring theory they were trotting around. that ended up being a joke about the vladimir putin calendar. now they've been holding on to this strzok conspiracy theory that it was a deep-state attack. it ends up the agent they're attacking for being violently anti-trump was the very one that was supporting james comey and drafting the release of the letter that helped elect -- wait for it -- donald trump! >> it is amazing, joe that first of all when you look at the fact that it's usually those of us on the left, particularly some of us in civil rights, that have questioned federal investigations and now you have people that are way on the other
side that used to call us names for doing that that are not only questioning it but are actually plotting to undermine it with things that doesn't even make sense. i mean, you've got to sit in my seat and watch this and say alibaba these guys who not only question the fbi but undermine an investigation and the one orchestrating it is the one they're investigating, the president of the united states. but when you go into bizarre territory is when you start going after agents that, in fact, were the ones that supported things that led to your election. you can only say there can only be motivated by a paranoia that you must be guilty of something or people know you're guilty of something that you care about that would drive you into where you don't even care who you shoot at, you shoot first and ask questions later and say, oh, i might have shot the wrong guy, but you're just shooting because you're really running from
somebody getting to you or somebody close to you. it's really, really tragic. >> so jeffrey, here's how it appears to be working for republicans. >> that was just the shell game. >> right. that's where i was headed. so they write this memo. they cook up a memo and say this implicates the fbi. the fbi comes out yesterday and says you can't release that memo, we believe it's damaging and it has omissions and won't be accurate so today devin nunes and republicans say "see, they don't want the memo out because they have something to hide." and they swim in a circle and they say we heard this last week, the reason you won't be able to trust robert mueller's investigation, he used to run this fbi that we say is corrupt. >> robert mueller, staunch republican, by the way, but put that aside for a second. no, it e's -- is there a song called "smoke gets in your eye?" there's so much smoke in our eyes it's worth cutting through to first principles.
listening to elizabeth, throng this conversation, the underlying supposition here that the president has made rather uniquely in the history of the presidency is that the fbi and the justice department work for him and the modern presidency. let's come back to that at bottom. there's this assumption that they work for him so if rod rosenstein said "yeah, i'm on your team." that's probably inappropriate in the sense that what you're supposed to say in that moment is "i work for the american people, i work to defend the constitution just as you do, mr. president." that's where this conversation has to go but it's not because donald trump came into office believing that these guys work for him. >> elizabeth, of course the facts that are reportable out there, is it possible to look at this as we are already in a constitutional crisis. >> i don't think we're there yet but i agree with jeffrey. the president is obsessed with loyalty and we saw that and --
that he has a profound misunderstanding of the government. we saw that when he asked comey for his loyalty. he wanted roy cohn in the justice department and, again, this is a president who's acting out of great fear about mueller and there is a concern among a lot of republicans that mueller will be vulnerable, perhaps towards the spring and you see these efforts in congress that so far have gone nowhere to try to keep the president from firing mueller. we'll see how that plays out. but i don't think we're in a constitutional crisis yet but i think we're -- it's looking a little scary for the future. >> jeffrey, if we can drop back and look at this and look at this over the past 18 months,
you're an agent of the fbi or you're running the fbi. this is what the political landscapes had looked like. you had democrats savaging the fbi saying they were on a partisan witch-hunt against hillary clinton. then james comey didn't indict her and then republicans said that the fbi was biased and, of course, talked about loretta lynch and bill clinton's meeting. so then it was the republicans attacking. then james comey released the letter and those same republicans were saying what a great man comey was and how the fbi was doing the right thing and thank god for the fbi. and then the second they started investigating donald trump's -- the crimes committed by members of donald trump's inner circle from which four have actually been arrested and charge, then suddenly republicans started attacking the fbi. so 18 months, four different attacks from two political parties based on who they're investigating. where do you go if you're an fbi
agent? what do you do? this is unprecedented in itself as well, isn't it? >> well the, the fbi has been politicized in the past, the fbi has politicized issues in the past. that's not unprecedented. i think what you're hearing out of the federal law enforcement community is a desire on the part of most people to hold on tight. in other words, there are very serious people who understand they play an important role in the security of the united states and understand that they need to hold on for dear life but it becomes very debilitating over time and this is a point worth making i think. we the american people need the fbi to function well, we need them to function well with the administration in power because when there's a crisis -- not a manufactured crisis but an actual crisis, a terrorist crisis, you'll want them to
trust each other and communicate with each other and that might be where we are in an unprecedented state. >> i think so and i think that trust and that tension that exists there is very fine, precious balance and it's being threatened in the worst way right now i don't think we comprehend how flagrant this administration is being with this careful balance. reverend al, your thought? >> i think we need to since that donald trump is running the u.s. government like he's running the trump organization no board of directors, nobody helping to guide him. he's helping it like it's a one man corporation, are you loyal to me? which is a crisis. the crisis may not be what we call a constitutional crisis, the crisis is we have a president that doesn't understand the constitution. and i think if we go forward with this and he keeps operating like this, we are going to be in the midst of a storm that could
cause mueller and everything else. we are headed -- there are dark clouds there. we're headed toward a real storm this spring in this government. i'm al sharpton, not al roker, but i can forecast that. [ laughter ] >> reverend al, thank you very much. elizabeth bumiller, final thoughts. what do you think the focus will be today. >> the focus will be on the memo. there's talk it could be released today because the president wants it out. he has five days, five days is friday. we were talking you could say 5:00 p.m. on friday but that's when they want to release bad news, the president want this is out so it could be early friday, it could be later today but i think we'll see it this week. >> jeffrey goldberg, stay with us. still ahead on "morning joe," author michael wolff is standing by. while there is plenty of drama in his new book, there was reporting referenced in today's "new york times" about the robert mueller investigation.
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this morning, the "new york times" reports that special counsel robert mueller is asking questions about the misleading statement reportedly drafted by president trump about the purpose of the 2016 meeting of top campaign advisers and russians with dirt on hillary clinton. the conversation on board air force one is covered in michael wolff's best selling book "fire and fury" in which wolff writes "the president insisted that the meeting was purely and simple about russian adoption policy, that's what was discussed, period. period. when that explanation was disproven by e-mails about damaging clinton documents and russia's support of the trump campaign, wolff writes "the lawyers in disgust and alarm saw in effect each principal becoming a witness to another principal's potential misdeeds, all conspiring with one another to get their stories straight.
the legal team spokesman was instructed not to speak to the press or even answer his phone. later that week, corallo seeing no good outcome and privately confiding that he believes the meeting on air force one likely represented an obstruction of justice quit." michael wolff is with us now. give us a sense of where you think this is leading given the reporting in your book? >> i think this is a crucial episode. effectively mark corallo was the spokesperson for the president's legal team and he said point blank to me i think there was an obstruction here and that the obstruction was actually wide-ranging and his argument -- i mean, this is a guy who has been involved in these things his entire career, super smart
he said when you draft a press announcement that is purposefully misleading, its purpose is to obstruct justice. it's to taint the investigators, it's to taint the pool of -- i mean, you are specifically out there doing this with the intent to essentially mislead everyone. and it wasn't only -- so mark corallo was there and he was kept to the side and this was going on but trump's lawyer was not allowed into this conversation. so all of the people who would have said, hey, wait a minute, this is -- you can't do this, were kept out. so mathe president's lawyer was kept on the phone for an hour
waiting to get into this conversation. they were on the plane, he was in dib -- he was on the ground and they didn't put him through. >> so in your time spent on the couch in the west wing watching people pass by, hope hicks was on the plane that day, one of president trump's closest counselors and advisers, she's been with him a long time. give me your thumbnail sketch of hope hick's relationship to donald trump. >> this is a super interest thing. hope hicks, her background is as a junior-level fashion pr person. she came in -- she has no other professional expertise other than that. she was one of the first people to join the campaign, has been attached to trump really at the hip for -- well, since he came down the stairs at trump tower.
it's a relationship that people spend a lot of time trying to figure out. she's his protector, his enabler. he always likes to have -- from a management's point of view, he likes people around him who he dominates who are very -- who are essentially weak who don't speak back to him and she does his bidding. she's a perfectly nice person but she is -- that's what she's there to do and at one point she and bannon had a screaming fight and it was sort of about this and bannon said to -- he said to her "if you don't go and get a lawyer now i'm going to call your father and make him get you one." >> michael, based on your understanding, let's go back to the plane for a minute, air force one. based on your understanding when donald trump said it's all about adoption what did he know at that moment about the actual content of the meeting?
>> he was fully versed. they sat there and they were discussing what went on and certainly jared knew about -- knew everything that was going on here and probably actually the leak from the "new york times" had come from probably jared or from jared's lawyers so this was -- i mean it was very clear what had gone on here. and i don't know this firsthand and actually steve bannon doesn't know it firsthand, but steve bannon said the chances -- i think his line was -- and this was after the meeting in june, 2016 in trump tower, "the chances that those jumos did not go up to trump's office after the meeting were zero." so that's a key question
obviously the mueller people are going to ask trump but i think the answer is he knew everything. >> knew everything. >> susan? >> you made news this weekend talking about things you didn't know firsthand saying you believed it was true but you had no proof that the president had an affair with someone in his administration. >> yes. >> that's pretty much what you said. >> yes. >> then you led and indicated if you follow the bread crumbs you can figure out who it was. after a lot of rumors came out, it was speculation that you meant nikki haley and you said "she's embraced it." don't you find that absolutely irresponsible at this point in time where we are as a society when you're talking about a woman who's a high profile woman in the trump administration to go after her without any evidence, without any facts, it just seems that it is so irresponsible. >> well, first thing, i didn't go after her and secondly what i certainly was i meant was i found it puzzling that she would
deny something she was not accused of. >> wait a minute. can i just step in here? let's put this next question the entire credibility of your book which was written really quickly. >> excuse me? >> your book, let's put it on this next question. do you regret inferring anything about nikki haley? >> i didn't infer anything about nikki haley. what i inferred was that the president is many of the people around the president believe he is still involved with various women. >> but you said she spent a lot of time with -- >> that's -- i totally -- i mean, that's exactly what people report and, now, and specifically that was about her bid to become the secretary of state so everywhere in the white house they were suddenly in a -- in quite a panic that this was actually happening which is why
they pushed pompeo out. >> she has embraced it. i'm going to go as far as to say you might be having a fun time playing a little game dancing around this but you're slurring a woman, it's disgraceful. >> it's -- and mika, again, she has been accused of nothing. she has decided to deny what she's not been accused of. certainly i didn't accuse her of this. >> wait, are you suggesting that the language is not ambiguous in any way in the things you've said and the way you've stated it? >> are you kidding? you're on the set of "morning joe," we don't bs here. >> well, what's -- read me the language. >> are you kidding me? i'm not reading you anything. >> well, we can play the bill mahar clip. >> we're done. michael wolff, thank you. we're going to go to break now. bye, everyone. we'll be right back. [ click, keyboard clacking ]
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this is the time that's right for me to leave politics and return to the justice system." gowdy, who was a former federal prosecutor, serves as a chairman of the house oversight committee and helmed the house select committee on benghazi. according to politico "gowdy has found himself butting heads in recent months with intelligence chairman devin nunes and other pro-trump republicans who have hinted at corruption at the fbi." and behind the scenes he's had to rein in his conservative colleagues who want to undercut the entirety of the justice department which he views as essential to american life. willie, jeffrey goldberg this is so significant on so many levels. first of all, it's significant because it takes us behind the scenes to see that there are a few republicans who are deeply concerned with this witch-hunt that republicans are conducting against the investigators. but also yet another chairman in
the republican party decides not to run in 2018. the numbers are staggering. >> you know better than anyone the chairmanship of these committees, this is the gold ring, the thing you're reaching for. the watching the people in the majority fall is fascinating. obviously what's going here is a window into into a civil war inside the republican caucus about how to think about our law enforcement agencies around how to talk about them publicly and privately. the people who are standing up for the principle that, hey, let's be very moderate and modulated in the way we talk about these institutions, those people are the ones leaving, the people who are staying around are the ones who will burn the fbi to the ground in order to
protect the white house. >> unless they are investigating political opponents, another new aspect that donald trump is bringing to american life mike barnicle, we hear a lot of talk about the -- the generic congressional ballot test, it's been double digits for democrats, it's a little closer than it's been. even one yesterday had it tied but these republican members are voting with their feet and you see this before any wave comes. it happened in '94 in my seat, a guy who'd been around for 16 years decided he wasn't going to face reelection because he knew it was going to get ugly. it certainly looks like what these chairmen and chair women are doing now. >> the trey gowdy statement was revealing in a certain sense. trey gowdy, despite what you might think about his behavior during the benghazi hearings,
his statement does contain an essence of character that is seemingly missing among members of the republican party, joe. a generic race right now would be meaningless because we're not having an election next week but if you look at congressional districts, you have to wonder which of the republican candidates would want donald trump coming into their districts. now certainly many selected districts like that, but trey gowdy stood up yesterday for the government, for the constitution and unfortunately his speaker, paul ryan, has not done that yet and probably, sadly, won't in the near future. >> and still ahead, amid heightened concerns about north korea's missile program, "time" magazine is looking at the risk for nuclear conflict today and whether it's higher than it was during the cold war. plus, few people on capitol hill are more attuned to issues of surveillance than senator rand paul. so what's his take on classified information going public despite the fbi's warnings about the
threat to national security? senator paul is our guest straight ahead on "morning joe." hey. pass please. i'm here to fix the elevator. nothing's wrong with the elevator. right. but you want to fix it. right. so who sent you? new guy. what new guy? watson. my analysis of sensor and maintenance data indicates elevator 3 will malfunction in 2 days.
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as part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression by any other nation or anyone else. >> president trump addressing the issue of nuclear arms in his state of the union address. joining us now, washington bureau chief for "time" magazine, massimo calabrese. it's about making america nuclear again. massimo, we know this president is interested in potentially
even looking at the question of using nuclear weapons do we not? >> it's easy to lose track of big issues in the daily churn in washington but one of the big issues is that we're on the verge of a new global nuclear arms race in some ways it's a challenge trump has inherited, the increasing number of nuclear players around the world from five to nine over recent years. the erosion of international agreements designed to constrain the spread of nuclear weapons trump in a very short time has executed an about-face in the u.s. response to those developments. he's gone from what could be described as a sort of traditional 25-year policy of restraint and investment in international agreements to a much more aggressive posture. both in terms of the nuclear
arsenal itself but also obviously in his rhetoric. >> he even talked about signing off on a $1.2 trillion plan to overhaul the entire nuclear program which, as you say, is a step in a different direction than we've been going for a generation or two. is this based on some kind of a strategy, or is it because he thinks nuclear weapons make the united states appear or to actually be more powerful? >> with regard to trump's motivations, it's difficult to say but the debate breaks down like this. you have this trend to more countries, looser rules, increased danger potentially regional arms races and the past approach having been diplomacy an an effort to get people to go into international agreements. trump's response is to develop new weapons.
he has authorized the first new warhead in 34 years, a battlefield nuke that's designed not to destroy cities or harden nuclear facilities but to be used against advancing you're supposed to be typing this agreement to e sew we need to be showing them we have more at stake if those agreements fail than we do. >> let me ask you this. my question is it's been well known in the obama administration has been dealing with this question for some time. of of renovation of refurbishment of nuclear arsenal that has been deteriorating
somewhat. how much of the interest is based on we have to keep this up to safe standards and more adventurous possible use of nuclear weapons. >> taking what the obama administration was already doing to sort of renovate or ensure the validity of the u.s. nuclear stockpile and going significantly further than that. the new weapon, the new war head. the new missile deliver system and what we leave within the story is trump ordered to department of energy to be ready to test a nuclear weapon not within the two to three years that they've needed to be prepared. our correspondent to wrote the cover story shows that this test, done within six months as
trump ordered dod to be ready to perform, would not have any scientific value. would just be for demonstration purposes. the difference here is that you have a qualitative difference in why you would test. it would be to show everybody else what kind of weapons we have. that's a very different approach to the international nuclear scene. as it were. >> there are several different federal agencies. the deal with the growth and restriction of nuclear weapons. one of them is the state department which has been gutted. in terms of personnel. we deal what is this administration doing that would be different from our handling of relationships with pakistan and nuclear country. >> yes, the relationship with pakistan is fraud. it's always been fraud. the administration has taken a more aggressive approach on
that. cutting aide, and they're in the nuclear sere, there are in number of concerns. obviously it's a hot bed of jihadism and terrorism. the country sportupports the taliban. the military has traditional by been professional. had very tight restraints on nuclear arsenal, but there are always concerns and there's a particular concern now because they are interested in developing own tactical nuclear weapons battlefield nuclears that are smaller, more portable in the past have been a real concern for the kind of weapons that might come into the hands of terrorist. >> all right. the new issue of time magazine is making america nuclear again. mass mow, thank you. very much for being on this morning. >> thanks for having more. still ahead, president trump still peppering members of the government about loyalty. the new reporting this morning on a meeting with deputy ag, rod rosenstein, and questions of
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everything out, even if the fbi says it's a dumb and dangerous idea. republicans may get their memo released today. it will not be the last shoe to drop. as it was framed on twitter, quote, never start a leak war against the fbi. we learned from reporting yesterday the agent accused by republicans of targeting trump was actually behind the decision that crippled the clinton campaign. and if john kelly really wants to full disclosure. hope hicks has to answer after satellite once and for all by agreeing to speak directly with bob mueller. that is if he doesn't fire him first. welcome to morning joe on this thursday. february first.
political commentator susan. and political reporter for "the washington post" and moderator of washington week on pbs robert costa. we're going to get to what could be the imminent release of so-called nunez memo in just a moments. first get you take on two reports from yesterday that could frame all that we're seeing involving the president's attacks against the mueller probe. first is the new report that president trump allegedly asked deputy attorney general rod rosenstein about his loyalty during a recent meeting. according to cnn, rosenstein visited the white house in december to ask for the president's help in fighting off document demands from house intelligence chairman devin nunez. during the visit, the president questioned rosenstein about which direction special counsel robert mueller's dvgs winvestig was heading. then allegedly asked the deputy ag if he was on my team.
according to sources familiar be the meeting. those sources say that rosenstein replied of course we're all on your team, mr. president. rosenstein is the highest justice department official in charge of the russia investigation since attorney general jeff sessions recruised himself. the second report concerns the fbi agent that president trump and republicans in congress accused of being bias to the president. according to cnn, that agent peter struck, was involved in drafting the letter that would later be sent by then fbi director james comey to members of congress november 28, 2016. e-mails and reopening investigation it had closed in july of 2016 after finding no criminal wrongdoing. cnn adds that struck sent a text message expressing reservations about comey making a public
announcement just days before the election and those messages which were provided to congress show struck grappling with the fallout of making the letter public. struck reportedly supported reopening the clinton investigation once the new information was discovered. republicans accused struck of being sympathetic to clinton while seeking to undermine donald trump during the campaign season. this, joe, of course reveals new insight into exactly what struck felt about anything and whether it really matters at this point. conspiracy theories. outright lies, loyalty oaths, we saw again another loyalty oath. this time to rod rosenstein, the
very man in charge of the investigation of the president, and, again, what we talked about yesterday, again, happening here, but in a highly unethical personal way where republicans and trump loyalists are actually investigating the investigators. here you have an autocratic move where you have a president under investigation demanding loyalty at the man in charge of the investigation. that's not america. that's turkey. that's not what the president did. he did the same thing with mccabe. didn't give him the answer he wanted so he fired him. of course we remember he did the same thing with james comey over the candle light dinner. demanded a loyalty oath. james comey did not give him the loyalty oath because he was
running the investigation. and the president fired him as well. peter struck put at the center of deep state conspiracy thoeor by trump sick of fans and also mouth breathers on tv who are also trump fans. mouth breathers come up with a different conspiracy theory it seams every time donald trump gets in big trouble. trump lied about barack obama crawling around in fatigues and bugging wiretapping trump tower phones or something bizarre like that. truthful is what le claimed on twitter. so the entire federal government did all they could do to try to prove that happened. nobody could prove it. everybody said it was a lie. the fbi said it was a lie. every agency said it was a lie. and so devin nunez lies to the
cameras. goes down to white house. comes up. and he puts that conspiracy theory out there about masking. ends up being a lie. here we had then a week ago, secret society and corruption at the highest level of the fbi. ended up being a lie. so peter struck now is at the center of deep state conspiracy to take down donald trump and yet we learn yesterday that peter struck supported reopening the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mail and draft that crucial comey letter to congress and ended hillary clinton's campaign. willie, historians will look back and they will say it wasn't russia that elected donald trump. and it wasn't -- this wasn't that. it was the comey letter that did
more to defeat hillary clinton than anything else. and peter struck who supposedly in the middle of this great harry potter like secret society deep state conspiracy, he supported that and helped draft the letter that effectively ended hillary clinton's presidential campaign. yes, first of all when you criticize mouth breathers on personal tv i take personal offense. attack on one is attack on all mouth breathers on tv. peter struck is basically a microcosm of the attacks on the fbi. which is suddenly twisted remember 2016 during the end of the campaign. they were the reason that hillary clinton was prevented from being president, according to to the attacks on the fbi. now that's been totally flipped to an organization like peter struck that has been attacking donald trump. doesn't make sense. can't have it both ways. bob costa now out in the open according to fbi statement that this release of the memo is a
glaring omission they said. they have grave concerns. christopher ray is worried about it. they say the nunez memo actually might hurt the country. might hurt the investigation here. we saw in the 2016 campaign this institution of whiplash in political battle in the country. first right thought that attorney general loretta lynch met on the tarmac with former president bill clinton that the fbi was corrupt. justice department was corrupt. the left revolts when the election happens and president trump wins and blame director comey. now war against the leadership from the right. this is nonstop political battle in this country. i think you see even trump al allies wondering. speaking to rudy giuliani. you have to be careful at this kind of moment. people inside the department of justice and the fbi are very nervous about having some kind of huge public war with this
administration. and other trump allies tell me you could see resignations at the doj or fbi in the coming days if this memo is released. people think their credibility is on the line. put a statement out there. >> yeah. >> you think even christopher ray is someone who could step aside because he put his name on the fbi statement yesterday. >> inside of the administration there's a lot of speculation about that. why else would you put out a statement. you're putting yourself out there and saying as the head of the fbi, his name is not specific lir on ally on it. he comes from the fbi. the administration moves against him. president does not respect own fbi wishes and puts him in a tough position bureaucratically and politically. >> joe, just sorts of moving ahead and then we'll move back. how can we not confront the reality here that so far republicans in congress have been so compliant and so forgiving toll things no other president could ever, could ever
make happen. that we should confront the fact that president trump would fire bob mueller and what will republicans do then? will that be okay with them as well? >> well, unfortunately, we can't trust paul ryan and now it disbelie grieves me to say it. general kelly a man who dedicated so much of his life to this country, and given so much to this country, we can't trust either one of these men to do the right thing. i find it hard to believe that at the beginning of february of 2018 that i just said those words, but you have paul ryan -- what? >> what do we know about trump what is the evidence he would not go forward about this.
>> there's no evidence. if he could fire bob mueller today. he would fire him today. >> still ahead on morning joe, "new york times" describes it as quote, circular firing squad. we'll talk about the fallout within the trump inner circle after multiple failed attempts to explain away a trump tower meeting with russians. it's now the focus of the mueller investigation. we'll have those details next on morning joe. running a business is not for the faint of heart. luckily, office depot® officemax® is here to take care of you. ♪ taking care of business with print services done right. on time. guaranteed! expert tech support. and this week all dell pcs are up to twenty five percent off! save even more when you purchase a dell monitor. and make sure you protect your investment. office depot® officemax. officedepot.com ♪ taking care of business stay at la quinta.
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mueller probe about previously undisclosed conference call. where he alleges hicks said e-mails written by donald trump jr. said he was eager to receive political dirt from the russians will never get out. that left a lawyer responded said she never said that and the idea that hope hicks ever suggested that e-mails or other documents would be concealed or destroyed is completely false according to the times notified the legal team of the conversation and jotted down notes to memorialize it. he also shared concerns with chief strategist steve bannon. contacted by the times yesterday, he said he did not dispute any of the account shared by colleagues, but declined to elaborate further. source confirms he has been contacted by the special counsel and agreed to an interview likely to take place within the next two weeks. joining us now one of the story
reporter matt of the "new york times." good morning. good to have you with us here. known many particulars of this meeting. initiated on the promise of dirt on hillary clinton. donald trump jr. said hi loved it and held the meeting. we didn't know the hope hicks part of the story and possible concealing aboard the air force one. >> when we went to the white house in july of last year and said we knew about the trump tower meeting and had a list of questions, the first two questions on the list were what was the meeting about and what did you think the meeting was going to be about? and we got of misdirection. spokesperson for the legal team and other white house aides including hope hicks who had helped craft the statements saying, oh, this was about russian adoption. it was a big dispute about this. on the conference call, they're
arguing over whose statement is more misleading or more reckless. who did what right. at one point, she says, don't worry about those e-mails. they'll never see the light of day. that is the -- he's going to go now and tell mueller, look, i was concerned that was a hint of obstruction. that they were going to try to somehow keep those e-mails or destroy those e-mails or conceal those e-mails. >> is there any interpretation, matt, based on your reporting, i don't want you to have to editorialize here, that that's not the obstruction of justice. the concocting of a story and a meeting and saying it was something that wasn't. and by the way having the president of the united states dictate the letter that made up the story. >> that's one thing that's interesting here. we know the statement is one of roughly a dozen things that bob mueller and his team want to talk to president trump about as part of their interview that's being negotiated right now.
school of thought in the trump adviser world that mueller doesn't have the right to ask whatever he wants. misleading the "new york times" is not a crime. there's a school of thought that donald trump should say hey, i don't need to answer questions to you about what i said to the times or not. it's not obstruction to lie to the times. that's playing out. that very question you just asked is playing out right now in back and forth between the president's team and bob mueller's team. >> thank you. coming up on morning joe, as house speaker paul ryan is an ex officio member of the intel committee, putting him near the decision to release a classified memo over the objections of fbi. we'll bring in new reporting on the real reason republicans are going down this road.
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a written statement that reads in part, the fbi takes seriously its obligations to the fie is a court and procedures overseen by career professionals in the department of justice and the fbi. with regard to the house intelligence committee memorandum, fbi was provided with a limited opportunity to review the memo the day before the committee voted to release it. as expressed during initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy. lets bring in washington correspondent for the "new york times." charliesavage. detailed news conference about what republicans are up to with the news memo. >> at the end of the day, what
this is about is going on offense as the best defense against bob mueller's russia investigation has it heats up and gets closer to dangi idamag president trump and by extension the republican party. the chain of logic is as follows. first, you affiliate the entire russian investigation by --. you ignore the hacking of e-mails, use of social media trolls to drive of dissension in the system and so forth. all the russia investigation is the fountain head is this dossier of verified allegations that was hired by democrats. you also say he probably made that up because this was about smearing someone who was running against hillary clinton. this wasn't about him actually talking to real sources telling him real things. just about the dossier. then you say the investigations
got a warrant as part of that investigation and using mr. steel's information without explaining to the judge adequately this was democratic paid for opposition research. this was -- and you ignore all the other information in the application. stuff that the fbi can't talk about to defend itself because that would blow every other source the country has for figuring out what russia is up to. surveillance, human sources and so forth. just steel. that's all this thing was. you make that scandalous. the third step is the memo says rod rosenstein used this too because he signed off on resubmitting it to the court for an extension. that means he is now vulnerable to attack as also complicit with watergate level offense. rod rosenstein stands between trump and mueller. he's the only person who can fire mueller. he said he will refuse illegal order to fire mueller because the only way to make it legal is if he finds mueller has created misconduct and he has not seen
evidence of that. if rod rosenstein is fired because he used this information and that is said to be scandalous, trump can put someone else in the role who will be more accommodating and would be willing to say i see there's a reason to fire mueller and shutdown this investigation. >> charlie, savage, thank you for your analysis this morning. coming up, senator rand paul standing by. leading voice on surveillance issues. what does he make of latest developments. kentucky republican joins us next on morning joe. when you say you need
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my lineage was the vecchios and zuccolis. through ancestry, through dna i found out that i was only 16% italian. he was 34% eastern european. so i went onto ancestry, soon learned that one of our ancestors we thought was italian was eastern european. this is my ancestor who i didn't know about. he looks a little bit like me, yes. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at ancestry.com i will tell you, i've always believed in the public's right to know and i stand by that princip principle. we'll respect whatever decision the president makes concerning that memo. >> that's vice president mike pence in a new politico interview suggesting the president should release a memo the fbi is urging him to keep
classified. senator rand paul of kentucky. on tuesday sent a letter to fbi director chris ray writie ining quote, in light of recent reports. at work, of their political vendetta against president trump. i can concerned about continued access to private information, such as that contained in fisa databases. is there a process in place to routinely ensure searches of databases to ensure nair not done for political reasons. the bias at the fbi is why we advocate for greater oversight of fbi. if openly bias agents still have classified to databases. one might argue internal controls are inaccurate. >> do you have concerns based on the text alone between peter struck and lisa page about the integrity of bob mueller's investigation, about the integrity of the fbi from the
very beginning of republic, we worried police power, which includes the fbi needed to have a check and balance with judicial party. if policeman are in pursuit of criminal, you don't want a person who doesn't like certain people. you're supposed to call a judge to be dispassionate at a distance and hopefully not someone selected for having by got try. during the hoover era, we had the right wing spies on civil rights leaders. it's gone on in every generation. fdr had an enemy list. nixon had an enemy list. both sides have done this. i'm very concerned in an era where we can record everything, every phone call can be collected. we have that extraordinary power. we have to be careful there is somebody overlooking the police. that's not to say they're bad, but i think the point.
>> in this particular case do you believe the text between the two of them. peter struck taken off the mueller investigation when found out about them. do you believe those texts alone indicate a bias or corruption of the investigation. >> i guess the way i would put it is if two federal judges were sending those text back and forth, would you be concerned. if these people are not overseen by a judge, yes, i'm very concerned showing they're not only bias, but at work communicating about it and enlivened to a great degree to stop him from being president. he probably won't, but if he is we have to have ab insurance policy. that does concern me. >> have you seen or read all of the text. >> hundreds and hundreds of them. i think the ones that have been selected out. >> what about the cnn report that is out this morning saying peter struck was an agent who
initiated and advocated for reopening the clinton investigation. put out ten day before the election day. does that change the way you feel about his bias. >> i think it needs to be investigated. i know the ones that have been released really indicate a great deal of the reason i asked christopher ray this question is i don't want them going to a database because someone donated to donald trump and saying i'm going to search this person and get them. that's why i want a judge inserted. the saddest thing about the memo from congressman nunes is he withheld the scandal until we reauthorized v ed vi e ed chang years. he gave them more mpower.
>> you call for greater oversight of the fbi. can you define what greater oversight means given the oversight that we already have. >> the greater oversight would be that they have -- they and the intelligence committee at large have a great deal of an ability, almost unlimited ability to collect data. there was a story saying we collected everyone's phone call in and out of through for a month. everyone's phone call. we can record all of this. there needs to be someone overseeing who is allowed to look at this, particularly for american. in the fisa, we're supposed to be spying on foreigners and foreign lands. millions of americans are caught up in database. including journalist, politicians, businessmen and women. and including maybe just people who have a cousin in lebanon or something. they're in a database. you shouldn't be able to type in an american's name without a warrant. we were arguing this under president obama. this isn't something new. it's a consistent position that the police power needs to be checked by the judicial power. >> and oversight is absolutely critical. i couldn't agree more.
and yes, sometimes fbi officials make mistakes, but what about the influence that the president is now exerting over the justice department. is that -- isn't that equally as concerning to see that branch of government overstepping in that way. >> i think what we learned in the lead up to this last election. particularly with the fbi looking at both major candidates, we need to be a little bit weary and review whether or not and how much we're going to let the fbi get involved on political campaigns. the clint people probably complained to the fbi through the election against clinton. the trump people are saying the fbi was involved in an unfair way letting him get off scot-free. i'm not sure of the truth. i don't know what the truth is, but maybe the reform we should think about is really we have a very high bar for investigating political candidates by the fbi. think about it this way, if the fbi can report all of our phone calls and bring you in willie and say we want to interview you
now and they have a thousand of your private phone calls and you have to make sure that everything you say is consistant of your private phone calls. anymore if you're asked to be interviewed by the fbi my first question is okay. only if you release all the phone calls you had before so i can review what i said in a phone call. >> let's define that a bit further. when you're talking about i think you just said every american's phone calls from through were swept up in surveillance trap. it's not the conversations that are swept up. >> sometimes they are. in fisa they are. actually, when we did the bolt collection out in utah that everybody got alarmed about, all american and dismissic. that buzz domestic to domestic and that was meta data. fisa actually collects
conversations. so they actually have. >> under a warrant. >> well, but it's a generalized warrant. they say we want to get all the people in libya or all the -- and i'm actually okay for lower foreigners. what i'm very alarmed with is they collect all that with no constitutional protection and then what i'm alarmed at is they can say mike barnicle he's contributed to this candidate now let's see if was can find anything on you and maybe your tax reforms aren't correct. so domestic accusations should never be prosecuted based on stuff that was intended to be foreign surveillance because there's no protection. you have no constitutional protection. you also can't challenge a fisa warrant. if i accuse you of something domestically or the court does. you say we're going to fight it. fisa warrants are secret. we made the court that way, but it's a less than constitutional
standard and we've acknowledged that because it's foreigners. this is something we have to be very careful. some grandkids. are we going get them out of the foreign surveillance database and put them in jail for pot. that's ridiculous. >> so based in the texts between page and struck, do you believe the investigation undertaken by bob mueller has been tainted. >> i think that mueller did the right thing removing him. he obviously thought there was a danger of tainting. i think he would say yes if you ask mueller. my concern now is what happens. federal employees are very well protected. and maybe for good reasons. maybe not sometimes, but these two employees may still work in the fbi for the next 30 years. should they be investigating the next republican or democratic politician comes up or are they now tainted such that they cannot be perceived as being unbias, but do they have access to the database. can they be typing americans. can they be in their office rights now typing in republican they don't like into a database
and finding out stuff about them. here's the question. if they don't use it in court, what if they go tell their pal at the irs and there's not trail other than we typed him in. he was bringing paint in the office and using it for. >> but in this specific case, do you believe the conclusions from the special counsel's office will be tainted whatever they are because peter struck and lisa page were on the investigation. >> ting bigger problem than that. that's a possibility. >> you do think so. >> yeah. i think the bigger problem than that is this, special counsels or prosecutors have so much power. they go far afield. those who defended clinton think they went far afield. they have too much power. we're going after flynn for making conversations inconsistent with, you know, a private conversation that he had. and then we are going after manafort for something that has
nothing to do with the mandate of the special prosecutor. would it be fair to go through 30 years of business records. that would be unfair. that's not the mandate. i think that's if i were advising the trump administration, i would be very worried they want to go back 20 years of my business words and maybe i didn't cross the ts and dot the is on all of my tax forms. >> joe. >> so senator, let's just talk more general lly about the fbi d concern about the fbi being attacked by all sides. you can go back to the middle of the campaign. it was the democrats who were attacking the fbi saying they were on a witch hunt against hillary clinton. then comey didn't charge senator clinton. then it was republicans saying that the fbi was slanted against them. then peter struck and comey draft a letter. comey sends it out ten days before the election. then it's the democrats again attacking. and now of course you've got the
republicans doing the attacking. so how do we make sure that the fbi can do their job without partisans on both sides attacking them if they don't like the direction those investigations are going in. >> i would probably start from the premise that 98% of the fbi. 98% of local police are good people. most of the time do the right thing. same time, when we talk about police, it's not that i'm anti-police. i think there have been abuses of minority rights and minorities in cities. and police do need more oversight and need to make the system better. same with the fbi. needs to be more oversight. fbi may be bigger than that. maybe we need to be more careful and figure out a way that the fbi doesn't insert itself boo campaigns because them using the research potentially from clinton to get a warrant is worriso worrisome. for particularly going after the
e-mail server in that. really goes both ways chltd. this is really a decision comey made. comey should have been fired for many reasons. one maybe he was unfair to clinton and two because maybe he was unfair to trump. and maybe the problem was he was overinvolved in an election season when he should have been quiet. >> right. and, certainly, violated a lot of practices that fbi directors usually don't violate. you either indict somebody or you don't. he didn't indict hillary clinton and then he tore her to shreds in a press conference. the bigger point is the fbi can't be biassed against democrats one month and then biassed against republicans the next. and biassed against republicans again and now biassed against
democrats and republicans. >> you don't get threats if they're not involved in politics so much. mccabe, when you look at his history, wife is a democratic. get all of the money from the clinton machine. none of that would have come up. he would have served honorably and finished tour had they not gotten so involved. he had something on his desk. they're going to question every motive and everybody else's. maybe it does get unfair. it wouldn't be if the fbi hadn't gotten involved. we got too involved with politics in the fbi. >> senator before we let you go, i don't think most people watching fully appreciate how serious and violent the attack on you was by your neighbor in november. how is your health now? >> better. i still struggle, but i can't even describe to you how painful it was in the first five weeks. six fractures. three of them displaced. the bones will never be straight. sort of heal in a crooked
fashion now. every time i move you feel the bone grinding on the bone. i'm getting better, but i still struggle with it. >> you've had pneumonia a couple of times. >> fluid around the lungs and i hope it's all sort of something that's an overcoming and i do feel better, but it's a relative terms. >> we hope you keep healing. >> we wish you the best. thank you for being on this morning. >> senator rand paul. speaking of the intel community, is israeli government concerned about sharing sensitive information with the united states under the trump administration, we have new reporting on that and what it could mean for potential con flil conflict with iran. that's ahead on "morning joe." photonics and imaging. fueled by strong university partnerships, providing the world's best talent. and supported with workforce development to create even more opportunities. all across new york state, we're building the new new york.
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the markets kick off a new month of trading in about an hour after the dow and s&p 500 posted best monthly performances in nearly two years. let's bring in dominic chew. what more can you tell us. >> things did rebound yesterday. kept the january gains intact overall. made it the best january for the dow since 1994. gains also mean the stock market is riding ten month winning streak. longest since 1959. see if traders got to keep that streak intact this time around. heading to february. seeing stability in the future's market right now. we could see some of those gains be added to a little bit today. also measuring's second biggest home improvement retailer joining tax payment parade. lowes is going to pay hourly
employees up to $1,000. according to internal memo reviewed by cnbc. like the other companies out there amount of bonus will depend on length of service. also expanding benefit package. including ten week paid maternity leave. faster el eligibility for health benefits. also watching facebook. a lot of attention from recent change it made to platform including showing fewer viral videos also announcing changes to how the knees feed works. focusing more on stories shared by friends and family as opposed to straight branded or sponsored conte content. last quarter users spent 50 million hours a day less on facebook because of some of those changes that amounts to around 5% of total time spent on facebook, guys, over to you. >> thank you very much. up next, new reporting from "the washington post" said cia
director mime pompeo secretly hosted russia's top two spy chiefs in washington last week. comes after president trump spilled secrets to moscow during a meeting with top officials in the spring. intel originally provided by israel and the episode could have lasting impacts. we'll bring in one of the reporters who first broke that story, next on "morning joe." oh, and there's the closing bell. (sighs) i hate missing out missing out after hours. not anymore, td ameritrade lets you trade select securitie 24 hours a day, five days a week. that's amazing. it's a pretty big deal. so i can trade all night long? ♪ ♪ all night long... is that lionel richie? let's reopen the market. mr. richie, would you ring the 24/5 bell? sure can, jim. ♪ trade 24/5, only with td ameritrade.
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the story that came out today as reported is false. the president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. at no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. two other senior officials who were present including the secretary of state remember the meeting the same way and have said so. on the record accounts should outweigh those of and noonymous sources. >> that was mcmaster back in may pushing back against reports that president trump disclosed classified information supplied by israel during his meeting with russian foreign minister sergey lavrov. the revelations reportedly have
strained the relationship, which have relied heavily on cooperation of course for decades. joining us is one of the jour l journalists who first broke that news. contributing writer for "the new york times," ronin bergman. he's out with a new book, rise and kill first, the secret history of israel's targeted assassinations. we'll talk about the book in just a moment. i do want to ask you since you broke that story about the relationship between america and israeli intelligence service also right now. which is that it's property quit obvious and clear cut if you're israel it could be dangerous to provide information if you think the white house is going to leak it to somebody who is standing against you. >> of course. and the israelis were warned even before all of that happened. even before trump was inaugurated. just after that, in january, senior american officials, the israeli counterparts. when they said at the end of a regular meeting that was supposed to happen anyway, they said we advise you, until it's become -- it becomes clear, that
the russians do not have any leverage on president trump, president-elect trump at that time or any of his group to be very, very careful, you know, to share sensitive information with the white house and the national security counsel because we are afraid this information might be leaked to russia. from russia it's a very short way to iran and much of that information is part of that. now, these country, the u.s. and israel, has cooperated profoundly, intimately, for very, very long time. this is one of the stories of many of the stories in the book of how they joined forces and only by joining forces could they come to execute the neutral targets against terrorists, against iran. once this cooperation is diminished, of course the national security of both countries is at stake. >> joe. >> so how is this impacting the day to day, the day-to-day working relationship between u.s. and israeli intelligence
officers? >> well, once the israelis are not sure that everything is 100% proof, sealed, secret and will never be leaked to anyone, they are hesitant to share information, secret what is modus operandi and sources. back in 2008, president bush and the official from israel signed a total transparency agreement on intelligence sharing and cooperation when it comes to iran. later termled as total mutual strategy. that led to unprecedented cooperation and achievements. the one reason why iran doesn't have a nuclear bomb now is thanks to the huge wave of intelligence collection and operation in iran now the israelis, and i just spoke with a senior israeli official just two weeks ago in israel, and he said look, it's not just a
matter of intent. it's not that we know that the russians have a mole inside the white house. this is something the israelis are trying to keep away. but we feel that the current administration is in deep disarray. not all the posts are manned. not everybody in place. and in that hovel, that mess, things are being leaked. that senior official told me beyond that meeting you just mentioned between the president and the foreign minister lavrov there were other cases of breaches of security and sensitive information that was shared or was leaked or somehow got into the hands of unauthorized entities. >> one of the elements of intelligence agencies worldwide is they are always intriguing because of what we don't know, what we think we might know. the mossad is different obviously from our central intelligence agency in one specific area. the use of a sass nation as a political tool, as a tool of
self-defense. in the book, you tell the the story of the head of mossad, for about ten years, and what he would tell operatives when they were assigned to you're going to chicago to kill someone or you're going to reio de janeiro to kill someone. tell that story. >> well, i would put that aside because -- very, very careful not to work in the u.s. but going to other assignment. have people in his room at the third floor of mossad headquarters. he told them look at that picture. picture on the wall. picture had a man, ultraorthodox jew, on his knees with his hands in the air. and some gestopo holding a gun on him in a polish ghetto.
he said, look at this person. this is pie grandfather just before he was executed. and we are here, the mossad, and i am here personally, to make sure that this will not happen again. there will not be a second annihilation, a second holocaust. going back to the question. by the way, the reason, once you are under constant threat of annihilation, once your arch emesis, whether ahmadinejad or saddam hussein, all calling for the destruction of israel, then you use whatever means you can, including targeted assassination, as controversial as they are. you do everything in your power. go to all out war only when the sword is on your neck. all the rest, pinpoint, focus operation, way beyond enemy line. in this way, we will be able to get beyond the war and achieve
our goals. >> the book is "rise first and kill now." thank you for being on. before we close, joe, do you want to share some final thoughts of the morning? >> i just got to say, we've been talking about the fbi all morning and you hear these stories over the past six months about secret societies, political lies, conspiracy theories. they end up just not being the case at all. but it is a pattern that we've seen over the past two years. where the fbi and the proud men and women who serve in the fbi, have become political targets during the clinton trump campaign. first targets from the democrats. and then by the republicans after hillary was in charge. then by the democrats when comey and strzok's letter came out and now by the republicans. mika, one huge difference, the attacks now are coming from the president of the united states,
who is demanding loyalty oaths, who is firing people who won't provide him those loyalty oaths, and who is moving towards his ultimate target, as you have pointed out time and time again, the firing of robert mueller. the attack on the investigators is in full force. republicans from paul ryan to general kelly are more interested investigated the investigators than figuring out what really happened with vladimir putin in 2016 and what may happen again in our next election. >> much more tomorrow. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks so much, mika. thank you, joe. good morning, i'm stephanie ruhle back in new york to cover our showdown. a controversial memo republicans, or some republicans, claim exposes power abuses by the fbi and it will likely be released today. democrats say the memo is