tv MSNBC Live MSNBC February 18, 2018 4:00am-4:30am PST
by everyone that knew him. especially his parents. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. good morning. i'm dara brown in new york at msnbc world headquarters. it is 7:00 in the east, 4:00 out west. here's what is happening. a tweet from president trump taking his national security adviser to task. this morning, what may have prompted the late-night rebuke. again on twitter, this time the president takes on the fbi. what he said about russia and the florida school shooter. >> you need to make actual change. there's only so many words that can be said before things move on. >> it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. >> we are going to be the kids that you read about in textbooks, not because we are going to be another statistic about mass shootings in america, but because we are going to be
the last mass shooting. >> student survivors make their voices heard about the massacre at their school. why they could be the key to getting affecting change. and new this morning, president trump going on a tweet storm and targeting the fbi in his own national security adviser over the special counsel's russian indictments. in one tweet late last night, saying, very sad that the fbi missed all of the many signals sent out by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable. they are spending too much time trying to brooprove russian collusion with the trump campaign. there is no collusion. back to the basics, make us all proud. in another tweet, general mcmaster forgot to say the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the russians. and that the only collusion was between russia and crooked h, the dna and the dems. remember, the dirty dossier, uranium, speeches and podesta and company. this started yesterday morning when hr mcmaster told experts in munich that the indictments show
evidence of russian meddling are now beyond dispute. vice president pence also breaking with president trump over his response to the special counsel's russia indictments in an interview airing tomorrow. >> there's no question that russia interfered, perhaps with other countries in our electoral process. and it is absolutely essential we take actions against individuals who attempted to interfere with our democracy. >> later today president trump will meet with house speaker paul ryan at mar-a-lago to discuss legislative priorities. and nbc's kelly o'donnell has more on president trump's reaction to the russian indictments. >> reporter: good morning, dara. president trump has found something that he really likes in the new sleeping indictment coming from the special counsel's investigation. and he's using that to try to make a larger point that his own campaign did nothing wrong. while it is true, the department of justice says that none of the americans who came in contact
with this specific russia-based scheme had any knowledge that russians were behind it. the special counsel's investigation goes beyond these particular alleged crimes. and that investigation is not yet complete. a string of tweets defending himself, again saying there was no collusion. but the president did not condemn the indicted russian plotters. the national security advisers said there can be no more denying sophisticated russian interference in the 2016 election. >> with the fbi indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain. >> reporter: calling it incontrovertible negates the president's words of doubting russia's role. >> the russian president believes he did not meddle in our election. >> reporter: candidate trump
remains devisive. >> it could be something on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay? >> reporter: but the indictment alleges a skillful roos where russians used these kinds of social media posts with inflammatory, political messages to stir discord. they enticed unwitting american voters with signs russian operatives requested. and many spread the russian-made messages on their own pages. democrats accused president trump of failing to take action. >> imagine if fdr denied the japanese attack happened at pearl harbor and did not react. that's the equivalent. >> reporter: so far the president has talked vindication, not retaliation. kelly o'donnell, nbc news, traveling with the president in florida. >> thank you, kelly. let's bring in jonathan allen for nbc news digital and kevin scoreli for bloomberg tv. thank you for being here.
>> thank you for having me. >> good morning. >> jonathan, why attach the fbi and the russia investigation to this tragedy in florida? >> i think the president has two visions here. one is to show what happened in florida, at least partially on the fbi, and also he's trying to make sure that as many americans as possible believe that there was no collusion. and what is interesting about this is, we still haven't really heard the president condemn this russian activity in the united states. and his argument is that the fbi should be paying attention more to the threats that they're getting domestically rather than what is going on with russian interference, ignoring the fact that the two things could go on at such a large bureau at the same time. and ignoring the fact that the special counsel's actually at a larger department of justice office, not the fbi. >> let me play for you what the white house deputy press
secretary said last night on fox. let's listen. >> now we know they were trying to sew seeds of chaos and disrupt the very core of our dmak democracy. the president was outraged when he heard what they had done in this election. and we cannot allow this to happen again. >> kevin, this goes to what jonathan was saying, it's been nearly 48 hours since the indictment and the president has not publicly condemned russia for meddling in the election. and i think americans want to hear the alleged outrage. and with that much president from himself, is that wishful thinking he will do that any time soon. >> he did tweet that it was an anti-america attempt by the russians and released the public statement on friday, but we have nod heard directly from the president on camera regarding this. so i think, you know, there's only a matter of time until he's going to be faced with questions on that. the early morning tweet storm stood out to me because of the criticism of the national
security adviser general hr mcmaster. we talk about how palace-intrigue stories influence policy. you have right now a potential division between chief of staff general john kelly and general hr mcmaster, the national security adviser, that has been rumbling quietly beneath the surface for quite some time. so for the president to criticize in a tweet general mcmaster would suggest that that division is still boiling over now with their internal response to the indictment. >> and, of course, throw in vice president pence, too, because he said it is absolutely implicated. jonathan, one of the biggest takeaways is that a campaign official from florida reached out to the russians in august of 2016 and another official who has not yet been named was contacted by the russians. but meanwhile, our colleagues have spent the weekend digging up old tweets and footage from rallies dating back to 2014, which this particular russia interference campaign began. so jonathan, don't these
indictments make it harder for president trump and his allies to claim vindication? >> i think what we've got going on here, dara, is an investigation into russian meddling and what special counsel mueller has shown, i think, without a doubt, whether or not he's able to hold convictions or to even extradite russians, what he showed without any doubt is that there was russian attempts to meddle in the u.s. election. this is a sophisticated plot, essentially in the intelligence operation, that he's laid out in his indictments. and i think what is important for everybody to do is to wait to see what special counsel mueller's concludes. and right now what you've got is people, you've got the white house claiming vindication, you have people on the left saying this is just more evidence that it's likely there's fire where there's smoke. and, you know, i think it's worth watching this play out a little bit. >> can i quickly jump in real quick on this?
because this is like a russian spy novel run amok. i mean, when you look at the silicon valley companies that are named in this from facebook, in particular, to twitter, to instagram, that the russians were essentially using american business institutions to divide people along gender and race and orientation. the question at some point for congress has to become, what are we doing to better protect ourselves in 2018 and 2020? >> and a minimum of four years doing that as well. kevin, on this, senate judiciary chairman chuck grassley who often tweets at the president tweeted this last night, the next president trump that you talk to putin, tell him to butt out of our elections and quit the cyber warfare interference in our democracy. with this outrage out of washington, do you see action on the russian sanctions or anything to force president trump's hand in some other way? >> look, what happened on friday was that indictment, dara, is the most aggressive push that the united states has taken
since by sanctioning 13 russian individuals, 3 russian businesses, the most aggressive steps they have taken, but to your point, we have not heard directly from president trump about his own thoughts on this. the key word that jonathan pointed out is that for the folks who were met with as far back as 2014, they didn't know. but how do we present this? there are a host of bipartisan bills being put forth in the senate, in particular, but led by senator amy clobichar trying to better pollster security to protect the institutions. but this should be nonpartisan, to protect the bedrock of our democracy and americans trust in the inindustry tugs in the business community. and silicon valley has a role in the accountability of this to step up to. >> and is john kelly looking to
overhaul the security clearances this week in the ousting of the latest white house aide. what does the overhaul look like? and will it do anything to solve the white house's problem that more than 100 of the staff can't get beyond the interim phase of their clearances? >> i think that remains to be seen in terms of how the process ends up working out. but this is a problem for the white house. it's a problem for the country. it's a problem for national security that you have people who are unable to get these permanent clearances, having access to higher intelligence. and to, i think, one of the ways in which we see this manifest is there are not a lot of people around president trump who have a tremendous experience in the national security and intelligence space. and part of that is because he hasn't been able to hire people who have that experience. to kevin's point a minute ago about congress in silicon valley taking a role in combatting what has gone on with russia, we have not seen the white house, it's
really astounding that the white house has not been engaged in an effort to combat this cyber warfare. i think it's, you know, i think it's not and overstatement to say what we saw from russia was an act of war. and yet the white house response to that has been so incredibly muted and in some cases has actually been the president trying to undermine the idea that the russians were involved in the 2016 election. >> and i'm sure there will be more to come. jonathan allen, kevin scirili, stay with us. we have much more coming up. another investigation, one more missed signal about the accused gunman in the florida high school massacre. stay with me, mr. parker. when a critical patient is far from the hospital, the hospital must come to the patient. stay with me, mr. parker. the at&t network is helping first responders connect with medical teams in near real time... stay with me, mr. parker. ...saving time when it matters most.
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investigating the suspect's home life a year before the shooting, they closed the inquiry after finding nikolas cruz to be low risk despite his plans to buy a gun. his unnerving behaviors would show videos of him cutting his arms on snapchat and his nazi symbol on his backpack. funeral services for three of the fallen services come today on the heel os of a large gun control rally in ft. lauderdale on saturday where surviving students took to the stage to advocate for change. >> because of these gun laws, people that i know, people that i love have died. and i will never be able to see them again. >> those elected officials out there today that refuse to take action, take action from the special groups. stop. >> if the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face it was a terrible tragedy and how it should have never happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, i'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the national rifle
association. >> joining me now is former fbi agent and msnbc terrorism analyst clint van zandt. great to have you here this morning. what do you make of this finding the suspect at low risk of harming himself or others? does this surprise you? >> no. so many agencies dropped the ball on this. i mean, the social services investigated him. the sheriff's office investigated him. there was a mental health examination and service that he had for a year. the fbi missed one small and one massive tip that should have led us to stopping this guy. all of the agencies that we should have counted on to help us, we say if you see something, say something, the public said something. and all of these agencies let us down. >> let's talk about that. because the lack of the follow-up from the fbi after someone called in the tip from a suspect, this is a man from mississippi who noticed a comment on one of his youtube
videos that said, i'm going to be a professional school shooter . so federal agents interviewed the tipster but came up short. what went wrong here? >> well, they should not have come up short. now, i say this with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, but they shouldn't have come up short. they should have run that lead down. i understand they get 1,300 leads that come into the tip center every day. that's how the fbi's accounting that somehow they missed this massive tip concerning the shooter. but again, that is their job to run these down. and one person doesn't do their job. that's the weakest link in our investigative chain. and that chain broke multiple times and allowed this to take place. the shooter is responsible, no doubt about that, but multiple law enforcement and psychological and social service
agencies could have caught this guy before he fell. nobody did that. >> clint, the fbi says the tip should have been assessed as a threat to life and forwarded to the miami field office for an investigation. had the tip gone through the proper channels, what could the fbi have done to stop the shooting? >> yeah, look, you and i don't have to be criminal profilers to say there was enough information to say this was going to be bad. whoever took that phone call should have immediately gone to his or her supervisor and said, this is so critical it needs to go to miami right away. miami would have grabbed it, touched base with the sheriff's office and in some combination gone out and interviewed this young man. and, you know, there are a number of states in the united states that have red flag laws. that says if a judge has presented evidence, if somebody presents a threat to himself or others, we can take the guns away to resolve the incident, the situation. perhaps if florida law enforcement would have had that information, noting they went out to his house 30 different
times anyway, if they would have had that information, if they could have held those guns until we resolved this young man's psychological condition, there would be 17 people alive today, i believe. >> right. so many ifs in this horrific tragedy. and president trump, he tweeted out yesterday that he's very sad the fbi missed all the many signals sent out by the florida school shooter. it's not acceptable and they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign. there's no collusion. get back to the basics and make us all proud. is this plausible from an operational perspective? >> no. you know, our president is confusing apples and oranges or apples and basketballs, i don't know which it is, but to suggest that an investigation run by the department of justice may have used fbi investigators had anything to do with the tip center dropping the ball, i mean, this makes no sense whatsoever. for years, i believe you have to
respect the office, but not necessarily the person in that office. saying something like that makes that statement even more and more challenging. >> clint van zandt, great to have you here this morning. thank you so much for your insight. and a programming note, alex witt will be speaking to former presidential candidate jill stein later today about the special counsel indictment that says the russians got to help stein's campaign. that's coming up at noon eastern. u tell your insurance cy they made a mistake. the check they sent isn't enough to replace your totaled new car. the guy says they didn't make the mistake. you made the mistake. i beg your pardon? he says, you should have chosen full-car replacement. excuse me? let me be frank, he says: you picked the wrong insurance plan. 'no. i picked the wrong insurance company.' with liberty mutual new car replacement™, we'll replace the full value of your car plus depreciation. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
president trump tweeting last night, just like they don't want to solve the daca program, why didn't the democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the house and senate during the obama administration. because they didn't want to. and now they just talk. let's bring back jonathan allen and kevin scirili. we hear the president's rhetoric, what are the realistic visions after this? what is the reality here?
>> las vegas four months ago, only four months ago. by the way, there's some chatter on capitol hill about improving mental health or enforcing the laws that are already on the books. but, i mean, just pull the fdc records of the nra. it's like we do this every couple of weeks, dara. $50 million put into the 2016 cycle, $30 million went to candidate trump, i'm sorry, $20 million to candidate trump, $30 million to six senate races like ohio and yes, florida. >> and onthank, we heard that powerful sound earlier from one of the survivors of the shooting, so is there a sense that the gun debate will be different this time around? because we're hearing from the high school students as opposed to the parents after the sandy hook shooting? >> no. there's no indication it will be anything different from the legislative perspective, republicans are afraid of primary challenges if they move on gun control. away from their base. democrats are afraid of primary challenges if they move away
from their base on gun control to try to compromise. if there was going to be gun legislation, all the democrats coming out against the nra would have to compromise with the nra. and that is fraught within its own peril. so i don't think there's likelihood of a change. >> did the democrats miss the opportunity, jonathan, during the obama years to fix this? >> i mean, the president is right. president trump is right they chose not to do anything on gun control. obviously, there was enough republican power to block them, but early on in president obama's administration, they could have had one or two democrats believe this is a toxic issue for them in swing states and perhaps it was. and so, he's right about that. at the same time, it's unclear to me from the tweet that president trump thinks gun control is bad idea. >> and kevin, real quick, are there any republican that is will push back to the nra? >> yes, senator pat thume and joe manchin. >> so there's hope. kevin scirili, thank you for
your time. that will do it for me. i'm dara brown. at the top of the hour, "politics nation." stay with us, "your business" is up next with jj ramberg. we are the tv doctors of america, and we may not know much about medicine, but we know a lot about drama. from scandalous romance, to ridiculous plot twists. (gasping) son? dad! we also know you can avoid drama by getting an annual check-up. so we're partnering with cigna to remind you to go see a real doctor. go, know, and take control of your health. it could save your life. doctor poses! dad! cigna. together, all the way. dad! ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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