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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  February 16, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PST

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but it could very well be. >> a bread crumb trail. >> to look at the path of the money. >> thank you. >> that is "all in" for this evening. >> steve bannon spending the day with house intel as nbc learned he spent some 20 hours with robert mueller. president trump addresses the school shooting tragedy without mentioning the word guns. as florida mourns and washington doesn't act, are students going to be the one to push this issue where others have failed. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarter here in new york day 393 of the trump administration. we know this has been a busy week in the russia investigation.
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nbc news is reporting that steve bannon met with special counsel robert mueller this week. in all he spent some 20 hours in conversation with the team led by mueller. then today after an almost month long stand off, bannon returned to capitol hill to continue his interview with the house intelligence committee. he emerged after four hours answering 25 questions that the white house had negotiated with the house lead counsel on the republican side. after bannon's testimony, adam schiff, the top democrat on the committee, told reporters bannon refused to answer questions that had not been scripted in advance. >> it went to far to not answer questions about conversations he had after the administration and with people who played no role in the administration. there's no claim of privilege that could apply to those circumstances. what's more, the only questions
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he would answer were questions that had been literally scripted for him by the white house. a set of 25 questions that had been written out for him to which the answer to each must be no. whenever we sought to probe anything beyond the four corners of the specific wording of the question he refused to answer. that's not how executive privilege works. >> schiff went on to say the next step would be initiating contempt proceedings against bannon. we're about to ask an expert about that. and "the washington post" reports, quote, house republican leaders are weighing further steps to force bannon to answer investigators questions in their probe of russia medicaling in the election, including potentially declaring him in contempt of congress after a thursday interview they call frustrating. all this as cnn is reporting former trump campaign adviser, rick gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel robert
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mueller's office. they cite sources familiar with the case. gates is not one of the better known members. if this plea deal happens, that would make gates the third person to flip and cooperate in the investigation joining michael flynn and george papadopoulos. there are also important developments tonight stemming from our own nbc news reporting that over 130 white house officials did not have permanent security clearance as of november of last year. today oversight committee trey gowdy sent the white house a request for information on all officials for whom a security clearance was pending or had been adjudicated since january 21, 2017, the first day of the trump presidency. and our own ken dilanian has reporting on the process at the white house. according to an excerpt of a
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questionnaire obtained by nbc news. white house officials are actually asked if they are vulnerable to blackmail. it reads in part, quote, with as much detail as possible, please provide any other information, including information about other members of your family, which would suggest a conflict of interest, be a possible source of embarrassment or be used to cooers or blackmail you. that's a change. let's bring in our lead off panel on a busy thursday night. matthew newsboum, white house reporter and viv ka solama. nika based on what we know of bannon's testimony before your old committee, house intel and what does contempt of congress mean? i understand there are several
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versions of that? >> that's right. it's very unusual for someone like bannon to appear before the committee and refuse to answer questions except those that are prescripted. i've never seen that happen before where they were negotiating down to a specific set of questions that are negotiated by the white house and the committee. so it's very unusual here. obviously the committee is very frustrated with this. they're considering taking further action to hold bannon in contempt. what that would mean is they would have a vote to hold him in contempt, if it's criminal contempt, they hold it to the full house of representatives. then they get in a bind because they have to turn it back to attorney general jeff sessions to see if he would prosecute bannon for criminal contempt.
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>> is there any standard for which the sergeant at arms is to go get the witness, bring them in and compel their testimony. >> congress has that power, but they haven't used it in a very, very long time. >> we'll put that on the maybe category. vivian, remind us, especially when we look more broadly at the story where bannon has spent 20 hours, give or take, in front of the mueller team. remind us of the stories bannon has to tell. >> bannon obviously was a key player in the transition but also in the administration as a very close adviser to the president during his time at the white house. and so, he was in the room for a lot of those conversations. of course he also was involved in the campaign very heavily. and so, the question is, what did he see, who -- what meetings does he know about?
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and a lot of this really caming to -- came to light in the last couple of weeks, especially with michael wolff's book "fire and fury," multiple occasions in the book he called trump tower meetings with donald trump jr. treasonous and a number of other accusations against members of the campaign and close confidantes to president trump that are now obviously the subject of great interest for the house intel committee and for special counsel robert mueller. so those are definitely some of the issues that they're going to want to grill bannon on to see to what extent, you know, he knew about these issues and whether or not they are treasonous as he alleges them to be. so those are the answers they're trying to get, but from what adam schiff said earlier, it doesn't sound like they got a lot of answers so far. >> matthew as i said earlier, gates is one of thelesser known names in this, just by lack of exposure. remind us, if you can, why he's an important player in all this.
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>> right. he was something of a deputy to paul manafort, who we know has not yet pleaded out and is facing indictment from mueller's team. but unlike manafort, gates did not leave during the campaign. he stayed on the campaign and was there during the transition. and we know a lot went down during that transition, including those famous calls between flynn and kislyak. so gates certainly had more visibility into the later stages of the campaign than manafort or george papadopoulos had. which makes him a compelling figure. and for him to strike a deal, i think that would be bad news for paul manafort more than anyone else.
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you don't want to be the one guy who hasn't struck a deal with the special counsel who's facing indictment. it's not good news for the white house. they're coming off a terrible week but to find out another former campaign official is ready to cut a deal with the special counsel, that's not a good way to finish what has been one of their worst weeks so far. >> counselor, back up to you and the question is what does it mean to you as a lawyer to hear that gates is considering a deal? >> i think it means that mueller is closing in on witnesses and as matt said that's bad news for manafort. what that suggests for manafort, the only way he can get a deal is giving up someone bigger than himself in the organization and question who that might be. but i think it's -- you know, given the kind of interviews that gates has already given mueller knows quite a bit about the manafort operation. >> what do you make of the addition of the language of potential blackmail in the kind of standard hiring form. this is separate and apart from
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the standard federal form people are asked to fill out? >> it's definitely sort of a head scratcher. and it just adds to more of these questions that are swirling around the white house with regard to their security clearance process. rob porter may have been the beginning of the story but he's certainly not the end of it. and the white house doesn't know how to grapple with this. i believe it was nbc's reporting that you have 130 staffers in the white house, as of november -- >> yep. >> -- who didn't have permanent security clearance and those are high level officials. and the white house is caught flat-footed they haven't been able to explain why porter stayed on for so long but also why these others are having trouble getting clearances. with jared kushner we can make guesses based on the meetings he had during the campaign. but it's troubling for a lot of people watching the white house that there are so many people without a clearance and it's more troubling that the white house can't explain why that's the case.
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>> vivian, what's it like in the west wing off the top of my head here's what they're dealing with this week, security clearance, kelly, stormy, immigration, russia, florida and let's not forget infrastructure. >> that's right. just the fact that, you know, president trump's lawyer came out this week and said that he paid $130,000 to an adult entertainment star and that is not the top story to cover up an affair was not the top story of the week it goes to show you this white house is so heavily burdened by this influx of news, scandals and controversy. it's been a seemingly nonstop flow. so obviously the situation is very tense, a number of us were talking earlier about the west wing has seemed to be on lock down in the last couple of days, especially where a number of officials were trying to minimize their reactions with a the white house reporters and
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others to minimize any kind of discussions that have taken place. we saw it with chief of staff john kelly essentially where stories were contradicting each other because of a number of people who were putting out their version of what happened with rob porter and the scandal that unfolded in the last ten days so at this point they're trying to minimize that story from blowing up more and having more comment that is go out that may be contradictory to the stories coming out. >> we appreciate you guys starting us off on a thursday night. thank you all very much. coming up, the latest reporting on a west wing swimming in problems and big issues. later, a progress report on the effort to drain the swap, a flurry of bad headlines brought on by people hired for this white house. that and more just getting under way.
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we will always remember february 14th, 2018, at 2:35 p.m. what happened at that moment will forever be in our hearts. we will not forget it. we will always remember it. but let me make this clear. our kids are amazing. our eagles with sore and we are parkland proud. >> over 400 people have been shot in 200 school shootings just since newtown, according to the "new york times." so earlier this evening with
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town of parkland, florida gathered to honor the 17 people killed in yesterday's mass shootings on valentine's day at the marjory stoneman douglas high school. nikolas cruz carrying out the attack with a semiautomatic rifle, appeared before the judge today. he now faces 17 counts of murder. a 19-year-old cannot by a handgun or a beer by the laws now, but a 19-year-old in florida can buy an ar-15. a deputy said he confessed to the shooting and he carried extra ammunition in his backpack. today president trump tweeted. so many signs that the florida shooter was mentally disturbed even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. neighbors and classmates new he was a big problem. then he addressed the nation. >> to every parent, teacher and
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child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you, whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain. we are all joined together as one american family. and your suffering is our burden also. no child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an american school. i want to speak now directly to america's children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused, or even scared. i want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. you have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you.
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if you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer or a faith leader. >> the president did not mention guns in his remarks, but he did say he was committed to making schools safer and to, quote, tackling the difficult issue of mental health. he added he's making plans of visiting parkland. so far no specific date has been announced. donald trump has been forced to deal with this as we mentioned just as a growing number of con troe ser sis consume his administration. there's still allegations about rob porter, and john kelly and don mcgahn still have yet to explain what they knew about the allegations, what they knew and when. and that raises questions about their future in the white house. there are reports about a payment from the president's lawyer to the adult film actress
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who claims to have had an affair with the president a decade ago. and the special counsel's investigation is not going away. it appears to be ramping up. joining us we have fill rucker and tamara keith. tamara, it was said today that speeches containing these words don't come naturally to this president, certain they the way they came to his predecessor. politico put it this way, president donald trump offered a deliberate but emotionalless reading of a carefully written speech that lacked any of the typical floushishes of words he's written himself. after first tweeting what some kind of took as community shaming. for a nation some combination of sad and angry, what's the net take away from the president on a day like this in your view?
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>> this president has struggled at times to say the words that are supposed to be the right words at the right moment. going back to early in his administration, there were some attacks on jewish cemeteries and he struggled to find the right words. and then ultimately vice president pence went to one of the cemeteries and stood and there and delivered the right words in a manner where there was ease. president trump often doesn't have ease in these circumstances, but clearly he felt that he needed to come out and say something to the nation that tweets weren't enough. and he used language that he has used in the past. very similar language. the binding of wounds or the things that bind americans together. he often sort of evokes this we
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are one america, and he did so again today. >> phil rucker, all those assurances to school children and others, what happens? what comes out of this white house on guns? >> i don't think anything, brian. and that's why i think so many americans are disappointed right now. we've seen on television all day today the mothers of victims, survivors, teenage survivors of the school saying, will the adults in washington please do something. please have a discussion, at a minimum, but at least have some consideration of changing the laws so this doesn't happen in the future. we not only see no plan for any kind of legal change coming out of the white house, but you don't even hear the word gun being echoed by the president or by his staff. i talked to some of the white house officials this afternoon to say is the president listening to these pleas today? is he going to be engaging, showing some leadership on the gun issue?
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and was given a response that was echoing what the president said in his remarks, which has nothing to do with guns. he's talking about school safety and convening the governors. we'll see if he'll step up to the plate and be part of the discussion or not. >> candlelight vigils used to be a rare sight in this country. tamara, another question, what is john kelly's immediate or long term further as far as you've been able to gather? >> that one is hard to tell and a little bit hazy. p going back to vice president pence he said he looks forward to working with kelly for many, many months to come. he didn't say years. he said many, many months. it's often hard to tell with president trump when he is venting, when, you know, you heard start hearing for people that he's looking for replacements, whether that's a real thing, an imminent thing, or it's not. either way, kelly is damaged by -- has been damaged by this this
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porter -- rob porter scandal and the fact that it has dragged on for so long that he's involved in it. and that's not a place you want to be as chief of staff. you do not want to be the story. in particular in this white house, with the a president of the united states who does not like other people getting attention in his white house, especially if it is casting a negative light on him. >> phil rucker, in the meantime, the folks who work for the american taxpayers and communicate for this white house and administration have been nowhere to be seen. we've had no briefing in two days, tomorrow's schedule is posted it has the president flying to florida. an event scheduled has been cannesled we don't know about parkland. he's still getting briefed on it. and no public to the news media. >> there's been no press
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briefing since tuesday, probably won't be one until next tuesday because we're going to a holiday weekend. when you opened, you ticked in a number of scandals, but you left off some. there's the v.a. secretary, who was the subject of adamning report, there's the epa administrator under fire for his first class and luxury travel being build to the taxpayer. these are additional questions the white house has not faced. and they're trying to avoid it. >> when we get to the topics later this hour you're going to think it's in reaction to you, and we didn't have them planned. but they were on the agenda. i swear to you. thanks you guys for coming on tonight. our next guest, a
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republican, has some advice to what democrats can do, need to do, to make common sense gun control a reality in this country. that's when we come right back.
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i can tell you this, as your sheriff, i will implement the full powers of the office of the broward sheriff's office, my friends who came with me
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tonight, elected officials, and they have no choice but we will introduce common sense gun laws that make our streets safer. if you're an elected official and you want to keep things the way they are and not do things differently, if you want to keep the gun laws as they are now, you will not get re-elected in broward county. >> that was a powerful moment at tonight's vigil. that was scott israel, the sheriff of broward county florida demanding common sense gun laws and threatening elected officials that they would cease to be elected officials if they didn't go along. here's another powerful moment. this happened on cnn, this is a mom who left her 14-year-old daughter. >> how do we allow a gunman to
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come to our children's school? how do they get through security? what security is there? a gunman, crazy person just walks into the school, walks down the window of my child's door and starts shooting, shooting her and killing her! president trump, you say what can you do? you can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands! we are bringing on our next guest for a reason. david jolly, former republican congressman from the state of florida. congressman, i wanted to talk to you because i have heard you recommend a way for democrats especially to proceed on the issue of guns and gun legislation. >> listen, those two voices define this issue for the american people. and both political parties,
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republicans and democrats, would be wise to listen to them. in their voices is an opportunity to move the country forward when it comes to responsible gun control issues. we can protect the second amendment but still responsibly regulate beyond the current regulatory state we have right now. and my point has been this. law enforcement officials, law enforcement community is largely a prosecond amendment group, most of them are conservatives, many republicans and they believe in expanded background checks and additional restrictions on assault weapons. one of the two parties, republicans are failing to do it, democrats have an opportunity, should run an end around to the national rifle association got to the sheriff's associations, the police association, say let's do this together. leave the nra behind and whatever incumbents don't want to come along, hopefully they'll see defeat in the next election. >> to that end, maggie haberman put this out, with a reminder, this is donald trump's favorite newspaper, this is owned by
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rupert murdoch it says mr. president please act we need sensible gun control to help stop the slaughter. i'm going to use a term of art you will know, nixon to china. only dick nixon could reach out to china and not be judged by that reasoning, isn't it also true that only donald trump could rise up tomorrow and say you know what, i've thought about it, this is madness, this could have been barren trump or any one of any of our children, it's time to restrict the ar-15s. restrict the 223 rounds and how we handle them and -- finish the sentence for me. >> this is infrastructure week, right? we laugh about that. but earlier this week he reportedly offered to provide political cover to politicians
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on capital for offering a 25 cent gallon tax raise. imagine if he said on this, i'll give you cover. an encouraging moment happened to me on capitol hill. i slept in my office, and there was a gun control group that would come around every night and put posters on my wall suggesting i was culpable for the deaths of innocent people across the country. so i called them and i said why are you targeting me? they said it's simple. you haven't cosponsored background checks. i said i support that, come meet with me. at the end of the meeting i said i'll co-sponsor that. what happened we removed the tribalism of the issue, the far right and far left. we sat down and talked and there was a way forward. i suggest to my colleagues tonight, take that risk, be willing to lose your job because
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if you're willing to lose your job you might find your voice and the american people are going to support you for doing so. >> i have 30 seconds. are you comfortable with this generation of students, if what i'm reading on social media and elsewhere, is any guide, they have had it, the generation that gave birth to you and me and the generation before us, they cannot understand why things are this way? >> brian, this one feels different. the leadership we're seeing come out of parkland is remarkable. my concern is this, from donald trump to rick scott they turn the issue into how do we harden and protect the infrastructure of the schools. they ignore the gun issues. and what i'm seeing with these students. they're not going to let them get away with this. >> thank you for coming up. coming up an update on how much the swamp drainage program has progressed.
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and even today, drain the swamp. we put it in about two days ago, drain the swamp. i didn't like it, the expression, drain the swamp in washington. i said it three days ago, the place went crazy. so i said i'm starting to like that expression. now it's trending all over the world, drain the swamp in washington. we like that expression.
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>> we remember that phrase from the campaign, problem is making good on that claim. of late today the "new york times" reports president's inaugural committee paid almost $0226 million to an event planning firm started by an adviser to the first lady milania trump. and the inspector general found that veterans a affairs chief of staff changed e-mails so his wife could join him on an official trip to europe at taxpayer expense. he was an obama holdover, he also accepted gifts of tickets to a wimbledon's tennis match. a day earlier epa administrator scott pruitt revealed authority concerns forced him to fly first class or on military jets at taxpayer events. it cost at least $90,000 during a stretch in early june, according to "the washington post." let's talk about this, with us is our national political correspondent and a former undersecretary of state for
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public diplomacy and affairs. he is a distinguished fellow with the digital forensic research lab. gentlemen, welcome to you both. steve, tom price lost his job over shall we call it, a transportation issue. are these people any different? >> you look at -- super officially this is the same thing. in both cases you look at that issue of perks of very expensive travel in the case of the veterans affairs secretary, bringing along his wife. if you believe there was a precedent set with tom price, you have to wonder is there a similar example made of shulkin, made of pruitt? there's not an indication that's going to be the case but the thing with trump we've learned he's with you until he's not with you. so that could change at any moment.
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it's interesting, too, you have a republican members of congress saying shulkin should go. saying look this is what trump ran on, what you just played from the clip in 2016. this is what he ran on and if it means anything, he has to go. >> rick, it's nice to sit in the pointy end of the plane, the seats are wider, it's nicer. but you know government travel is fraught with restrictions. >> yes, it's incredibly detailed driven but i went and did old fashioned reporting -- >> you were the former director of a magazine. >> yes. and i went to the travel policy, it is the general policy of the u.s. government that less than premium class accommodations must be used for all modes of passenger transportation. i travelled back and forth on that shuttle we've all been on hundreds of times and saw obama
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cabinet officers in coach. what mr. pruitt doesn't understand is the people talking to him in coach are voters. and so many of these people who work for donald trump don't understand the meaning of being a public servant. think think they are coming to serve at the trough, they are the swamp creatures making it work. >> pruitt has cited threats to his security, either real or perceived that led him to have a security detail which the size and scope of also put him in the news. this is the nagging thing. we listed the issues the white house has. this is the nagging issue that stays in the news and rolling out. >> absolutely. again you have price earlier, two more. you have three instances. i think it does raise the question, it can happen in any administration. go back to bush, his chief of
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staff was going to stamp shows and he was forced out. but when you have guidelines like rick just read, it does beg the question, are they really emphasiing this to folks? are they saying it's a point that matters? if you have three cases you get the idea this is not emphasized. >> that reference to stamp shows, we're old enough to remember the first reference. >> we're going to sneak in a break these guys will remain we'll continue our conversation on the other side.
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i feel having the democrats in with us is absolutely vital because this should be a bipartisan bill. this should be a bill of love. truly, it should be a bill of love and question do that. what i approve is going to be reliant on what the people in this room come to me with.
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i have great confidence. if they come to me with things i'm not in love with, i'm going to do it because i respect them. >> that was less than one month ago. and now the u.s. senate remains incapable of passing a fix to daca, republicans and the white house blame democrats, that won't surprise you. in a statement late tonight, sarah huckabee-sanders in part, quote, today the schumer democrats and the senate demonstrated again that they are not serious about daca, they are not serious about immigration reform and homeland security. today moments before a vote the president wrote on twitter the schumer rounds collins immigration bill would be a total catastrophe. that came, we should tell you, just minutes after fox news aired an interview with two of that bill's co-sponsors. steve and rick are still with us to talk about this tonight.
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steve you are the keeper of the numbers. in a country where we can't agree this is thursday, what are the poll numbers on day ka. >> 81% over all in the most recent poll on this say they think permanent status, legal status should be given to the daca recipients. the one note of caution i would add. when you took a poll and asked people to prioritize during the shutdown, should daca be done if it means not keeping the government open, the answer was no. keeping the government open was much more important than daca. that's what gave democrats a a little bit of resolve. when you ask voters to prioritize it, they like the goal but there's a question of i combination with it. >> rick stengel, because we have the luxury of a senate that gives us at least two weeks of
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funding at the time, now we can look at daca in the clear. what happened to the bill of love, what happened to whatever you bring me, even if i have problems with it, i'll sign it? >> i think his instincts on daca are pretty good, pretty bipartisan and moderate, let's do something for this kids. as laughable as it is for him to say bill of love, it shows he understands american people on this. something hardened his resolve on this that he said i need to get something back for it. we saw the senate, the world's greatest deliberative body working. there were four bills, they voted on them, the bipartisan bill came close to passing. i think they'll eventually get there, though they're not going to do it right away now. >> imagine being one of the daca families in this country and this is what you watch rolling towards you. >> trump has set that early march deadline. a court has stepped in so that
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deadline may not mean what we think it means. the four pillars were in that grassley amendment today. that only got 39 votes. that means there were 13 republicans who were not on board with what the president was proposes. if the republicans want to say the democrats aren't serious, they missed a big part of their own party. >> and the point i raised earlier, donald trump on the issue of guns would give all the republicans in congress air cover. he's virtually the only person who could rise up and do it. >> i want to see if steve has any gray hair. >> no, way too young. >> i think he could do it. he could do it in part because he isn't a partisan figure. he represents somebody who could take the heat on it. we're doing something the
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american people really support, come with me. >> gentlemen, it's always a pleasure. thank you both. gray hair, brown hair, it takes a village around here, really support it. coming up, the distinction between thoughts and prayers and campaign donations, as our elected officials respond to another mass casualty event in our country. that when "the 11th hour" continues.
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the last thing before we go here tonight brings us back around this florida tragedy. as so many people before us have said, this phrase, thoughts and prayers, even if said in all sincerity is falling short as a comfort mechanism after these repeated mass shootings, these mass casualty events. so many of the sentiments posted on social media by our elected officials now read differently in light of the facts provided that we're about to share with you by the non-partisan center by responive politics and put together by our morning team on the broadcast, velshi and ruhle. for example, the nra spent $2.8 million over his political career including attack ads against his opponents. ohio republican rob portman tweeted about the heartbreaking news and sent prayers while he
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has received $3 million in support from the nra. joanie ernst asked her fellow supporters to respond in prayers, she received $3.1 million. and colorado republican cory gardner asked for prayers for the first responders as well, he's benefited from almost $4 million in nra money and arizona republican john mccain tweeted his prayers, "the nra has laid out $7.7 million, the most of any lawmaker, and vice president
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mike pence tweeted about heart aches and prayers. he has an a rating from the nra. president trump first tweeted and then today spoke about this tragedy. he said "no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an american school." the nra, we should point out, spent over $21 million supporting donald trump in the 2016 election, almost 10 million on ads and other pro-trump material and 12 million attacking hillary clinton. so you see the discontinues there between thoughts and prayers and campaign donations and attack ads. that is our broadcast for you on this thursday night. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night for all of us here at nbc news headquarters in new york.
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thouzs gather to remember this week's victims in the shooting in florida. >> including the suspect's whereabouts before and after the shooting. >> plus, president trump speaks to the shooting in the aftermath of the shooting and emphasizes mental health over gun control. >> good morning, everyone. it is friday, february 16th. we begin this morning in parkland, florida, a community grooefzing aft

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