tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC February 17, 2018 9:00am-9:30am PST
that is our show for today. "a.m. joy" will be back tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern. alex witt has the latest. >> we can just go 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., how is that? >> you have some upcoming breaking news on the russia ongoing investigation. >> i mean, it's a huge, huge topic, of course we're all over that. thank you, joy, for that, and a good day to all of you. i'm alex witt at msnbc headquarters in new york. here's what's happening right now. election meddling. new fallout over reaction this morning about russians charged with interfering in a profound way with the 2016 presidential race. >> the evidence is now really n incontrovertible and available in the public domain. >> president trump's national security adviser there with an unequivocal statement on proof of russia's tampering. legal and political reaction,
next. could it have been stopped? new questions arising today over the florida scoot shooting and how so many missed a series of red flags raised about the teen charged. security clearance controversy. will an overhaul end up with one of the president's most trusted advisers barred from classified documents? those details next. but we begin with new reaction from the organizer of a gun show, defending his decision to go ahead and proceed with the event in the aftermath of this week's horrific tragedy. a gun show where ar-15s are being sold. it is current under way, some 50 miles or so south of stoneman douglas high school. >> these are events that are prescheduled years in advance. these venues are reserved years in advance. and once these are reserved, it's very hard to get out of them without having any litigious activity occur. we have to go forward with the show. but, you know, rest assured that when we no intent of disrespecting family members,
and, you know, our heart goes out to all the victims that were involved in the shooting. >> i wonder if there are any ar-15s being sold there. meantime pretty strong words from former democratic governor and presidential candidate martin o'malley. >> rick scott, i'm glad he's saying now that everything's on the table. but he bragged at reelection that he had signed more pro gun laws this one any other governor in america. now is the time for the he pif -- epiphany, governor scott. are we a nation that loves our guns more than our kids? this is an outrage and everybody state has a responsibility to act. >> a man of passion right there. on the other big story, the white house apparently split on what the special counsel's indictment of 13 russians for elect tampering means. >> first of all, we have to understand this began in 2014,
under then-president barack obama's nose. he didn't do a thing about it. long before donald trump announced for president, this was going on. also, it points out clearly that in this process there was no collusion, as you just pointed out. the president said it multiple times. this makes it clear and concise for the american people and proves the president correct. no collusion between donald trump, his campaign, and russia. and also i think this is important too. it did not affect the outcome of the election whatsoever. >> i don't know if that's been proven. president trump's national security adviser sees it a bit differently. we'll have more on that in just a moment. geoff bennett, katy faang, and tammy leitner. geoff bennett is in pompano beach for us. geoff, good day to you. i know there's new reaction from the trump administration
following the special counsel's criminal indictments. what can you tell us? >> reporter: that's right, alex. we know the mueller indictment blows a hole in president trump's favorite talking point about the russia investigation, that it was a hoax, a witch hunt coordinated by democrats as an excuse for losing an election they otherwise should have won. this morning the president's own national security adviser, h.r. mcmaster, appeared at a conference in munich and said that russia's interference in the 2016 election is now beyond dispute. take a look. >> we would love to have a cyber dialogue when russia is sincere about curtailing its sophisticated form of espionage. i think that day will be coming, because we're becoming more and more adept at tracing the origins of this espionage and subversion, and as you can see, with the fbi indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain, whereas in the past it was difficult to attribute.
>> reporter: so the question now is what will president trump do about it, particularly given what we learned from his director of national intelligence this past week. dan coats appeared at a senate intelligence committee hearing and said that russia feels emboldened by what they did in 2016 and is intent on targeting the 2018 midterm elections. we learned in that same hearing from fbi director chris wray that president trump has not directed his national intelligence chiefs to do anything to thwart russia's interference. now, a white house official tells me this morning that all options are on the table. but alex, to this point, president trump has not elected to use any of the newer options available to him to retaliate against russia. >> okay, geoff bennett, thank you for that report, we'll see you again. let's bring in katy faang, let's get to it. does this indictment at all debunk the president's position that the russia investigation is a hoax? >> absolutely not. in fact it refutes trump's
assertion that that is a hoax. if you think about the fact that trump is now making a big stink that it proves there's no collusion, you know what, alex, that's not the case. think about what mueller was charged to do as special counsel. he's been told to look into evidence and to investigate whether there has been meddling in the 2016 elections by the russians and we now have hard facts and evidence. the fact that this speaking indictment, this indictment that explains, and it gives the story how the russians on this exceptional level of information warfare was able to infiltrate and attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, the fact that this indictment was released by mueller just goes to show that mueller has a lot left up his sleeve and it's not just going to be done now that this indictment has been released. >> i want to be real clear. hogan gidley, white house spokesman, says this proves
there has been no collusion and it also proves whatever happened did not affect the outcome of the election whatsoever. that's just flat out wrong. >> that's wrong, because look, this specific indictment does not state that it influenced through the actions of the internet research agency, which is one of the entities, the russian entities that's been identified in the indictment. it says through the actions of these particular defendants, that it didn't actually influence the outcome of the 2016 election. but alex, how could anybody credibly and legally say this proves there's been no collusion with the trump campaign? i appreciate the fact that perhaps trump and his suppose people maybe have a crystal ball and they seem to know where the mueller investigation is eventually going to end. but ultimately we are still in the midst of the mueller investigation. we're still in the midst of parallel investigations that are being done by the senate and the house. and so it's a completely premature conclusion to reach, to state there has been no proof of collusion with trump associates or the trump campaign. >> okay.
so we have 13 named individuals and three corporation. the fact is that russia never ex extradites its citizens, so what is the point of this? >> depending on what side of the aisle you're on, you may say this vindicates you or that it proves something. but at the end of the day, this indictment provides the american public with the information it needed to know about the depth, the breadth, and the absolute involvement of the russians in terms of the specific entities and these individuals in the meddling with the 2016 election. alex, what's key to remember are there are some very important dates that are at play. nunes, as you heard in the lead-up to this, is making a stink about the fact that this occurred as far back as 2014, during the obama administration. but let's be clear, alex, it kicked into gear when donald trump clinched the republican nomination. that's why this is an
exceptionally influential point in the mueller investigation. >> it seems like in 2014 they started their own research as to how best to infiltrate or affect an election or cause disarray and chaos with the democratic process here, that's what began in 2014. when they started putting pen to paper, if you will, or fingers to keyboards to send things out, that would be the timeline. the june 2016 meeting at trump tower, there's no mention of the players involved there, the one that was with donald trump jr. can we reasonably expect another indictment calling out those people's actions? >> sure. so again, and that's a really key point, you'll notice that there are certain events that we are already familiar with in this whole timeline that we always talk about. and it's omitted from this indictment. it doesn't mean there isn't some type of parallel or correlation to those other events that we don't hear about in the indictment. this is not the indictment, quote unquote. this is not the end of the mueller investigation.
this is a part of the mueller investigation. that's always important for people to remember. you don't hear that this is the denouement or conclusion to the trump, or excuse me, the mueller investigation. >> katie, always good to talk to you, thank you so much. a memorial keeps growing for the victims of the florida school massacre which left 17 dead and dozens injured. >> reporter: are you going to be able to go back to school? >> i will, i feel like i have to do it for my classmates, for my community. we have to rise up together and live on their legacy. everything single one of these people were beautiful, you know, bright people who had futures ahead of them. they could have changed the world. i have to do it for them. >> in parkland, florida, with the very latest, is nbc's tammy leitner. tammy, we've heard such mixed emotions about the prospects of this school being reopened but i imagine it's going to stay closed for a little while. what do you know about that? >> reporter: alex, in the last five minutes we heard from the superintendent.
he tells us he has heard from a lot of students, they really are struggling with what to do. but right now they're considering tearing down that freshman building. there's about 900 students that are in that building. alex, i want to give you a live look at this memorial that has just continued to grow. there have been thousands, literally thousands of people passing through here all morning. you see the angels in the back there. those actually came from another memorial in a different city for sandy hook victims. there are flowers out here, pictures, notes. we've been speaking with a lot of the parents and a lot of the students. and i'm back here with a parent. his name is josh kaskalano. you have two daughters, both in the 11th grade, who go to that school. how are they doing right now? >> we're all in shock. it's just -- it's been a long, hard week. we have over 3,000 children that
are broken. it's unimaginable. >> reporter: you seem like every time i talk to you, you get teary-eyed. this is a hard time. >> i mean, we all lost people we love. whether it was our family, family or friends, coaches that we knew, loved our students, took care of our kids. those people are gone. they're great people. they're no longer here. >> reporter: and how do you feel about the news that they're considering tearing down the freshman building? >> i think it's a good start. i mean, those kids felt unbelievable vulnerability for such a long period of time. and that school represents the place where they were vulnerable and where their friends died. i just don't know how they could ever walk back in that building. that building is where the majority of their friends died. i don't even know how they go back to the school. >> reporter: do memorials like this, where the community comes
together and grieves together, do they help? >> umm, i know for my daughter, she needs to be around other people who have experienced the same thing. we haven't stopped hugging her. but when i see her hug students that she knows or people that have been through the exact same experience, her teachers, it's a different hug. it's a different level of intimacy that we can't give her because we weren't in that expedience. >> reporter: josh, thank you so much for talking with me. go back and give those daughters of yours a big hug. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> reporter: alex, we've spoken with a lot of parents, and some of them tells us their children have shut down, they're still in a state of shock. so they hope that by coming to the memorials and going to the funerals, that will help them move through this process and continue to grieve, alex. >> there's a long recovery road ahead for those individuals and that community for sure, thank you, tammy leitner. next, cherry picking the mueller indictment. is president trump done calling
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in this process there was no collusion, as you just pointed out. the president has said it multiple times. this makes it clear and concise for the american people and proves the president correct. no collusion between donald trump, his campaign, and russia. >> huh. white house spokesperson hogan gidley this morning, backing the president's assertion that the president is vindicated. john harwood, and jay newton-small, let's get into it, guys. is there truth, john, to what hogan gidley is saying there? >> look, hogan's got a job to do. but this is a tremendous overreach by the white house to try to argue that this is
vindication for the president. yes, they did not allege collusion in the particular set of acts involving the particular set of people indicted by bob mueller that they announced yesterday. but that doesn't preclude subsequent indictments by people who were in fact witting participants. we know, for example, i mean, they said that the russians disguised their identities and preyed on unwitting americans. but donald trump jr., jared kushner, and paul manafort were entirely witting when they attended a meeting at trump tower with russian lawyers offering dirt on hillary clinton. so this is one piece of the puzzle. it is not the end of the story. and it's very shortsighted for the white house to try to act a president. >> what about sanctions on russia, is the president going to move forward with those? >> it's striking to see a lack
of leadership from the president on this issue. everybody else on the planet, it seems, understands that russia did meddle in these elections, that there was significant corruption of our democratic processes here. his intelligence chiefs agree on this, congress agrees on this. now the investigation has indicted 13 russians who actually did this. and yet the president still has not imposed these sanctions that congress passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan manner last year. and he was supposed to have imposed them weeks ago, yet he's completely silent on this. in fact this week was the first time the white house has ever even said yes, there seems to have been some meddling in the elections. it's the first time they've ever even noticed it. >> part of the special counsel's indictment reads, they, the russians, engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate drea roger to information about hillary clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as ted cruz and
marco rubio. what is the politics behind that? >> they're trying to weaken the united states. it's pretty clear they calculated that hillary clinton would be a more formidable adversary for russia to deal with as president than donald trump or bernie sanders. they wanted to sew discord within the democratic party. they wanted to elevate donald trump within the republican party. and then of course we saw after the election, they staged pro and anti-trump rallies at the same time, which is consistent with those previous activities, because once trump is elected, then they want to sow discord against him too. the most important thing is showing this is a massive conspiracy to interfere with the election. one of the things that the donald trump defenders having saying is, well, obstruction of justice may not be all that serious because it's not clear there was an underlying crime. bob mueller laid out in detail yesterday that there was an
underlying crime, and this is one piece of it. >> okay. unfortunately, you guys, we're going to make this one short and sweet but i will definitely see you both again, john and jay, thank you so much. coming up, the warning signs in the florida school shootings. the fbi admits it didn't follow up on a tip. you can't predict the market, but through good times and bad at t. rowe price we've helped our investors stay confident for over 80 years. call us or your advisor. t. rowe price. invest with confidence.
new reaction on the florida shooting and the fbi's failure to follow up on a tip about the alleged shooter. >> this is a huge law enforcement failing when it comes to information sharing. and we know that the fbi failed to forward to their field office. but, you know, alex, even when they forward to their field office, there are not as many fbi agents in our country as there are local law enforcement agents. and someone's going to have to answer about what the sheriff's office failed to do when they were notified 20 different times. >> of course former maryland
governor martin o'malley there talking about how the sheriff's office had received 20 calls about the suspect. sean, i'm curious about the logistics here. when the fbi gets a tip of any sort, phone, e-mail, what happens next? >> well, the first thing they're going to do is actually search through their system of record. the fbi has an internal database that will alert them if there's been any information previously about the person they're receiving a complaint about. they can also check criminal records. there is a whole host of databases, because there's a lot of intelligence that's being collected, in this particular case, based on what i read in the fbi statement. it appears that little to nothing was done. >> what about the volume of calls like this that come in? not specific to this case but just in general, are there enough fbi agents to handle all of them? >> yeah, that's a great point, alex. the fbi is overwhelmed with the type of intelligence that they're receiving, the volume of
intelligence, from terrorism matters to criminal matters, across the board. and -- but they've got a requirement and an obligation to try and prioritize what they're reviewing. they've got to work collaboratively with the general public. they've also got to work very closely with state and local law enforcement so that they can parse these type of things out and ensure that somebody is reviewing them. in this particular case, with the specificity that they had, the amount of information, the name of the individual, and it was coming from a credible course, there certainly is a lot that could have been and should have been done in this case. >> calls by the florida governor to have chris wray, the fbi director, resign, is that appropriate, do you think? >> i don't know that that's the case here. i think that director wray needs to be spoken to. there is certainly going to be an investigation internally. there's likely to be some type of congressional look at this. and i think when they determine what the source was, what the occurrence was, why the system
broke down, we need to make that determination then. but i think that might be too premature at this point. >> okay, shawn henry, thanks so much, my friend. i'm alex witt. thanks for watching. at the top of the new, new insight into the russian documents. but coming up next, "velshi & ruhle." but we make more than our name suggests. we're an organic tea company. a premium juice company. a coconut water company. we've got drinks for long days. for birthdays. for turning over new leaves. and we make them for every moment in every corner of the country. we are the coca-cola company, and we're proud to offer so much more.
america mourns another mass shooting. this time a gunman targets high school students in florida, prompting president trump to quickly declare no child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an american school. well, that's something everyone agrees should be the case. so why can't our elected officials agree on how to get it done? good afternoon, i'm ali velshi. stephanie is off today, i'm pleased to welcome back catherine rampell, in for stephanie, a columnist