tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC February 25, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PST
you're getting the wall, okay? don't worry. >> the promise and the political bind. president trump hits a new wall of refusal from mexico's president, as both leaders battle over paying for that wall. >> it is asinine to say, if you carry a gun to school after you get hired, you'll get a bonus at the end of the year. that is ridiculous. >> and arming teachers. as the national debate over the president's proposal heightens, parkland students prepare to return to the school. at this hour, new reaction from democrats on the house intel committee, defending the release of their fisa memo. here's congressman jim himes, slamming republican chairman, devin nunes, for alleging corruption in the justice department. >> devin's contention is, well, the fbi and the doj are actually biased against donald trump. i've got to tell you, if there was any bias within the fbi and the doj, they had a very, very weird way of showing it during the campaign. meanwhile, chairman nunes
now going so far as to accuse democrats as using former trump campaign adviser carter paige as a spy. >> why is it now that carter page, who had a warrant on him for a year, from a secret court, why is he running around free, going on comedy central now? this is somebody that they framed, they set up, to go in and spy on the other political party. >> nbc white house correspondent, kelly o'donnell, has new reaction now from the white house. kelly, what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, gad to ood t with you, with aaron. this has been an issue of fighting to get control of the narrative on a complex set of typically secret facts before the national security court, the fisa court, where the members of the justice department go to the judges there, presenting evidence to get surveillance when it involved an american, in this case, carter page, who was mentioned. the democrats are saying that the republican memo that's been out in the public for the last three weeks or so is misleading, inaccurate, and did not properly
portray what was happening behind the scenes. republicans have alleged that there was bias, partisan bias, in the views of some of the people involved. and because those who prepared the application for the surveillance did not explicitly disclose that some of the funding for one of the products they used, a dossier, as it's been described, was paid for by the hillary clinton campaign and the democratic national convention. those are some of the issues at play here. today, white house spokesman raj shah is responding, talking about the president's views on this, and saying that he believes the democrats' memo muddies the picture. others have said that the democrats' memo shines light on inaccuracies in what the republicans have been saying. >> democratic memo was designed to basically undercut the republican memo, the nunes memo. and they basically failed to do that. on these two very major points about being transparent with the judge and the degree to which they utilized this dossier, this
phony dossier, they were not really able to rebut the points made in the nunes memo. so i think the president is right. this memo is a bust. >> reporter: so democrats point out that the application did expressly say that there was political motivation behind the dossier and that it was intended, in its creation, to be anti-trump. but it did not make that leap to say, hillary clinton campaign financed or democratic national committee. that's what they're fighting about here. the court knew that there was a political motivate, but didn't know the specific of where it came from. as one piece of what has been a very complex investigation, that dossier, is according to democrats, just one small part of what was presented to the court, that had this investigation open during the campaign season, and we've seen some of the product of it with indictments and certainly big questions still hanging over the white house. aaron? >> all right. thank you, nbc's kellyanne conway at the white house for us this afternoon. reaction from president trump over the release of that memo
has sparked debate over who, if anybody, is in the wrong. the president tweeted last night, the democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal bust. just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. so illegal. the house intel committee ranking member, adam schiff, responded in part, wrong again, mr. president. it confirms the fbi acted appropriately and that russian agents approached two of your advisers. hear to break this down for us now is former deputy assistant attorney general harry litman, who served in the clinton administration. harry, is this a legal bust, as the president claims? >> it's very hard to see how it's a legal bust, aaron. look, there is some political scrum going on between the majority and the minority in the house intelligence committee. but let's focus on the fbi, the supposed target of the memo. the party line here, from the president on down is, the rank and file of the fbi are terrific, but there's some bias at the top.
but they don't seem to understand how the fisa process works. it's precisely that rank and file at the level of staff offices up all the way through. non-political actors, who reviewed this carefully, meticulously, and again and again. and i think that the chairman just is losing sight of the entire gravity of this whole enterprise. this is about career folks trying to stay one ahead of serious risks in a dangerous world. and the cavalier kind of revelations of sources and methods and information here. and they're bringing them into the political arena, really undercuts that. on the merits, it does seem to me that the specific charges about the use of the steele dossier, et cetera, don't fly, because it's undisputed that the whole surveillance was initiated
without any contribution from steele. in terms of the revelation of his bias, that's very standard. you know, they said in the application to the judges, he's -- he cares -- he's working for a particular political campaign. usually, the kinds of agents who you are talking about in these applications have much more bias. they're usually bad guys. and this is, this is old hat for the judges. they, of course, are able to factor that in. >> so is there any way that the release of these two memos to the public could affect the special counsel's investigation, robert mueller's investigation? >> that's a little hard to see. i think mueller is already on top of things, knows all the information. so here, it's just one more background fact in the water. what it could affect is the ongoing enterprise of foreign intelligence and surveillance. the department of justice took this extraordinary step of going to the white house before the
nunes memo was released and said, don't do this. you could reveal sources and methods and sources and methods are a very hard thing to assemble. you don't just go down to target and get a new one when one's been be under. it could be deadly. so that's the big affect. and as for the schiff memo that came out yesterday, i believe the fbi worked with him to try to make the best of a bad situation and blessed what was done. but the general exposure of this in the public sphere is dangerous business. >> all right. former federal prosecutor, harry litman. sir, we appreciate your time. >> thank you, aaron. happening now in florida, students at stoneman douglas high school are attending an orientation ahead of their return to classes on wednesday. this comes two weeks after a deadly shooti ining rocked that school and officials tell nbc news several law enforcement officers failed to immediately interre intervene when the shooting
started. maya rodriguez is in parkland, florida, for us. what can you tell us about this? >> reporter: well, aaron, what we know is that the broward sheriff's office right now is investigating whether three of their deputies failed to go into the freshman building. that's the shooting where most of the shooting took place now almost two weeks ago here at stoneman douglas high school. they say internal affairs will be looking into this. this is a claim that is being made by other police officers. but we're told there were no video cameras facing that particular part of the parking lot, so they are going to have to rely on interviews that were at the scene when that happened. now, in the meantime, in just a few hours, we're expecting students and parents to be making their way here to the school. there is an orientation happening between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. this afternoon. basically, the school district is wanting parents and students to be able to go into the school, ease them back in before school opens next wednesday for classes. take a listen to what madison marsky, a freshman here at stoneman douglas.
she's getting ready to head back to school. here's what she had to say. take a listen. >> going to be with my family again, my high school family. i'm going to be with my friends. i'm going to be with my teachers. and i know we all have this love for each other that's unconditional. and we will all get through together. and i know that no matter how much we cry, no matter what happens, we're all going to be okay. >> reporter: again, there will be counselors on hand, here at the school for parents and teachers to take advantage of, if they feel like they need that. this is all coming again, ahead of the reopening on wednesday of the school. and when it does reopen, it will be a modified schedule. it will be a half day, basically, just trying to ease the students here back into sort of a normalcy, after something so traumatic that happened here. aaron? >> very important step there, though, in parkland, florida. maya rodriguez, live for us in south florida. thank you. >> joining me now, democratic governor, dana malloy of connecticut. we appreciate you being here
this afternoon. we know that states like florida are looking at you to try to figure out what source of reforms they can implement after the steps you took in connecticut in the wake of the sand hy hook shooting. how do you think the debate is different this time around, if you think it's different? >> there's a whole lot of things you're asking, aaron. i think, number one, some of the steps that might have prevented this shooting from taking place should have taken place after torn the orlando shooting. the availability of these weapons of mass destruction, and, you know, is quite outrageous when you consider how many school shootings we've had since sandy hook. we know that if you limit the sale of those weapons, then you're going to limit the use of those weapons. it follows. in fact, since we passed our legislation in connecticut, what was comprehensive in nature, in 2013, we've had the largest drop in violent crime of any state in the nation bay substantial amount over the next greatest drop. but, yeah, what you really want to do is make sure you're
monitoring mental health better, that you're building a system that allows you to gather the information about people who have challenges, to make sure that they don't have weapons. you'll want to limit the sale of these types of weapons, at least, that's what we did in connecticut and six other states, and in the district of columbia. all of those states have substantially lower death rates than florida does. in fact, there are five states that have a death rate of less than five per one hundred thousand folks. and there are 22 states that have a death rate that is three times that or more. in fact, we have states that have 20 or more people dying per one hundred thousand because of guns. that's the reality of the situation. you have to start talking about changing our culture to be less violent oriented, less gun oriented, and quite frankly, one that's more supportive of life and well-being. >> governor, i want you to hear something that president trump had to say in an interview last night. >> if we would have had, uh,
some great teachers that were gun adept, meaning, you know, really understood weaponry and guns, and if they had concealed permits, you wouldn't have this problem today. that coach who was so brave, who ran into gunfire to protect the kids, if he had his gun, concealed, if he had his gun, he would have been -- he would be alive today. most of the people -- it would be a whole different story. >> governor, talk about the obstacles you encountered in the wake of sandy hook. was arming teachers an option? >> let me just say one thing. you started this segment with talking about part of a story about whether people who had guns acted properly. what makes you think that if you distribute guns somewhat more widely. maybe there's two or three in a grammar school, that those individuals are going to act any differently than individuals who are otherwise under fire themselves? >> the idea that the only thing that we can do about guns in our society is have more guns, is
what's gotten to us where we are today. the better way to make people safe is to have universal background checks. the better way to make people safe is not sell them guns that can bring back mass destruction. the better thing that we could do the to ban bump stocks, which allowed in las vegas 90 bullets per ten seconds to rain down on concert goers. are we going to bring back ushers in movie theaters and them carry guns? are busboys and women in restaurants going to carry guns to keep us safe? are concerts, are we going to have people with guns in concerts? i mean, think about this culture, that we can outdo guns somehow. that we can somehow run faster than they can. doesn't make a whole lot of sense. >> so how do you respond to someone who says that democrats have a sort of tunnel vision on this issue. why not throw every possible option at dealing with these school shootings, gun control, mental health services, school counseling, arming teachers,
fortifying school buildings. everything? >> well, listen, we've spent millions of dollars in connecticut fortifying school buildings. we've spent -- let's spend -- how about spending more money on mental health? how about instead of the president signing a law that made it more difficult to know who had mental health challenges to the extent that they were actually disabled, he now signed a piece of legislation that prevents the sharing of that information. hey, i got a suggestion. why don't we take the no-fly list, a list of people we suspect of terrorism, that aren't allowed to fly on aircraft, maybe we should add that to the list of people who can't buy guns in america. maybe we shouldn't allow 40% of all guns in america to change hands without a background check. what about those things? and if the president would address some of those things more seriously, we could take him more seriously. >> governor, i want you to hear one other thing. this is from the nra spokesperson this morning. >> i do want to caution people, because i know that people are
trying to find daylight between president trump and 5 million law-abiding gun owners and law-abiding gun owners all across the united states. these are just things he's discussing right now. i think it's great that as president he had all of these individuals, all of these constituents come into the white house. he had this listening session. he's really looking for solutions. he wanted to hear what they had to say. and that's what he's doing. so far, nothing's been proposed yet. >> so, governor, we know the nra has lost some business partnerships in the wake of the florida shooting. is there a sense now that the nra will diminish? >> well, first of all, let me respond to that. it sounds to me that the spokesperson was saying, we have pulled the leash on the president. after all, we gave him $30 million to make sure that our guy was in the white house, to make sure that our view of guns would be protected. it sounds like they pulled the leash back on the president on that one. and certainly, if you follow what the president is now talking about, as opposed to what he was talking about earlier in the week, it's very clear that that's what's happened. they've done it in the senate.
you don't hear a whole lot of republican senators who have had as much as 3 to $8 million invested in their campaigns over their personal histories talking about how we make americans safe again. so i think it's a very different situation. we've got to keep our eye on the ball. i'll go so far as to say that i think that many of the things that the president said, just days ago, about gun safety, was a bit of a bait and switch. in the hopes that we can get by the current difficulties. you know, just a couple of days after sandy hook, you know, i was asked a question about what are we going to do about guns. and i'm pessimistic about what will be accomplished on a national basis. after all, 97% of americans support background -- universal background checks. and yet we don't have them. but what i also said on that occasion is, listen, this is going to happen at a school near you. this is going to happen at a movie theater in your neighborhood. this is going to happen at a community college in your state. these things are becoming more frequent, not less frequent. we should be having honest discussions about how we keep
guns out of people with mental health challenges. we should make sure that no guns are sold to terrorists in our country. we should make sure that universal background checks are the chief way we make ourselves safer. and we should properly fund the system that allows it, so a gun is not given to somebody because they couldn't complete the background check in three days. if you purposefully unfund that program, you're going to have more of the shootings the likes of which we saw in charleston take place. >> all right. connecticut governor, dannel malloy, with we appreciate your time today. thank you, sir. >> thank you. next, another big setback for president trump, as he tries to get mexico to pay for his wall. why prospects for that to happen may be nothing more than a fantasy. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job
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a. it shouldn't have instantaneous two weeks to get out. they knew over two weeks ago that this would -- they knew what they had to redact. they didn't want this house. and that's why we want it out and they didn't. because this doesn't -- it bolsters the case that we made, specifically on the fisa abuse, that the court wasn't notified that the clinton campaign and the democrats paid for this dirt. that ended up being phony. >> chairman of the house intel committee, devin nunes, reacting to the democratic memo, which rebuts the republican document that alleged fbi abuse of the surveillance court process. joining me now, laura bassett, senior republican reporter for the "huffington post" and hunter walker, white house correspondent for yahoo! news. hunter, i want to start with the nunes argument concerning the
steele dossier's funding sources. here's what democratic congressman, adam schiff's counter is to that argument. >> it's ironic that the republicans would attack the fbi for following their procedures, which require that they minimize the names of u.s. persons and u.s. entities that are not the subject of a warrant. so even hillary clinton and donald trump are referred to as candidate 1 and candidate 2. they're supposed to mask the identities of people. >> so, hunter, who's right here? or is this just all politics? >> well, we could be dealing with a bit of a he said/she said. with nunes essentially saying that the doj did not properly disclose christopher steele's funding sources and relationship to democratic partisans. and then adam schiff coming in and saying this was properly disclosed. but i think, actually, two key lines in the nunes memo undermine his own argument. at one point, he admits that the investigation into george
papadopoulos, quote, triggered part of the probe. which seems to undermine his case that, you know, the steele dossier was essential for this. and then another line he has says that the corroboration of the steele dossier was in its fantasy when the warrants went out. so that seems to admit that the steele dossier was partially corroborated. so i really think that the dem memo was much more devastating than what we've seen from chairman nunes. >> so laura, what do you make of this back and forth between two high-ranking intel officials. has this turned into a pr war? and that going to resonate with the public at all? >> i don't think many people in the public are paying close attention to the memos, reading them. i feel like this is just a game of political football going on right now. the gop memo was just, it was an own goal, very obviously. what they set out to do, they did the obvious. they admitt eted it wasn't the
dossier that prompted the carter page investigation. he's been on the fbi's radar since 2013. honestly, the democratic memo made the gop memo look even stupider. and i don't think this is going to resonate with the public at all, to be honest. because i think the public is much more interested in what comes out of the actual investigation. was there wrongdoing. did russia meddle in the election? was there collusion? i think whether there was some kind of political motivation in starting the investigation doesn't really matter to people at all. >> hunter, i want to turn to another topic, while i have you now, "the washington post" is reporting this. this is the headline here. after testy call the trump over border wall, mexican president shelves plan to visit the white house. what are you hearing about this? >> well, last month, actually win talked to a mexican undersecretary and asked him, will mexico pay for the wall? and as far as he's concerned, they've been clear from the beginning, our posture is very clear, we're not going to at any moment pay for that wall. and trump seemed to have dropped this issue entirely.
we saw him in his immigration framework ask congress for funding for immigration border security measures. so it's really strange to see this come back up again. and i'm not really sure why the white house would get into this. but i am sure why pena nieto is. because the mexican presidential election is coming up in july. so he wanted these public assurances for trump that they accept the mexican position, whereas trump was much more eager to kind of quietly move on to asking congress for funding. and not really publicly acknowledging that he was breaking arguably what was his signature campaign promise. >> so laura, the meeting's canceled. the mexican posture has not changed on this. what are the implications, do you think? >> just goes to show you, you don't have to build a wall to keep a mexican out of this country. i think that, you know, trump is destroying relations with mexico. he's made the united states an embarrassment on many international stages here. and i think it's embarrassing for him that his main campaign promise was to build a wall and
make mexico pay for it. it was never beginning to happen and he's trying to kind of quietly sweep that under the rug. and the president of mexico is standing up to him. >> laura bassett and hunter walker, we appreciate you both. thanks. >> thanks for having me. in just a moment, a billionaire's way to help empower young voters with an eye on gun call. democratic donor, tom steyer, will join us, next. with big dreams... we came with big appetites. with expedia one click gives you access to discounts on thousands of hotels, cars and things to do. like the garland hotel for 40% off. everything you need to go.
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welcome back. the president calls it nothing -- a bust, as a matter of fact. democrats, though, say that their intel committee memo proves that carter page was under investigation for contacts with russian spies long before the christopher steele dossier. oddly enough, the republican chairman of the house intel committee appeared to embrace this idea today. >> the whole democratic party was in on this. i would like to know when a lot of these members, with senatsen congressmen of the democratic party knew that this dirt existed, because clearly, they were paying christopher steele for this or it was through fusion gps. but the democratic party had this information in july, august, september, october, november of 2016 during the elections. >> now, devin nunes also claimed page was sent to spy on president trump's campaign.
let's bring in mike medley now, nbc national political reporter. mike, have you seen everything in the memo that supports this theory from the chairman? >> no. in fact, in the democratic memo, they specifically state that based on the information that they had available, that there was no attempt here to use carter page's surveillance warrant to spy on the trump campaign, as well. and the timeline makes that clear. the application was brought before a fisa court in late october of 2016. that's just a couple of weeks before the election. so to the extent that carter page was still playing a serious role within the campaign, there would have only been a very narrow window of time that if that was really the coal here, that the government would have been able to spy on the trump campaign through carter page. the other things that this memo helps fill in the timeline on that's interesting in terms of chairman nunes and his point this was all an effort that democrats knew about in realtime, the memo makes it clear that this highly classified counterintelligence investigation, which was launched in july of -- in july
of 2016, was something that was only known, even to a select few within the justice department. and so to the extent that you've heard criticism from democrats of the way the fbi conducted this investigation, it has been that while director comey was willing to discuss publicly what he was doing in terms of the hillary clinton e-mail investigation, the public was not given the same insight into the fact that there was a multiple investigation involved with the trump campaign at the same time. >> mike, look, a lot of smart people seem to think that neither memo is going to really change the outcome of the investigation into russian meddling in the 2016 election. why do you think both sides have invested so much time skpo much energy into this battle of the memos? >> well, chairman nunes said that he launched this first memo that was released three weeks as part of an effort to show that there are abuses in the fisa program and there's this pattern of political bias, he feels, against president trump within the justice department. obviously, democrats say they would have rather, neither one of these memos had gone out
publicly. they wanted theirs to be put out public at the same time as the nunes memo, but republicans blocked their efforts to do that within the committee. so to the extent that democrats had to release a memo on their own, they're saying it was just an attempt to correct the record. democrats are saying they really hope now that this is in the public space, they can move on. the committee is still doing its own investigation of russia. it's been underway for just about a year up-to-the-. and they want to return the focus to bringing in more witnesses, having more testimony, being able to present to the public at the end of their committee investigation, a fuller picture of what exactly the trump campaign may have done. >> nbc national political reporter, mike memoli, thank you. now, the release of the democratic memo sparking intrigue from both sides of the aisle. president trump tweeted out this, dem memo, fbi did not disclose who the clients were. the clinton campaign and the dnc, wow. joining us now is tom steyer, president and founder of next gen america, a billionaire businessman who has launched a campaign aimed at impeaching
president trump. mr. steyer, what's your biggest takeaway from the democratic memo? >> well, i think that the democratic memo destroys chairman nunes's original hoim. but i think there's a bigger point going on here. which is, chairman nunes is trying to make sure that his committee does no investigation of the russian hacking of our election. and i think that every time he impose out and attacks the justice department or attacks the fbi, he's trying to take away the focus from the original point of his investigation and use it politically to, in fact, work for the president, to attack the people who are doing the work to see whether or not there was something going on between the russians and the trump campaign. so he's succeeding by muddying the waters and changing the focus. and even though he's doing it with ridiculous and preposterous claims that are refuted completely by congressman schiff, he is, in fact, changing
the conversation that we're having today. >> mr. steyer, the other big debate that's raging this week is one about gun control, of course, in the wake of the shooting in parkland, florida. you're pledging $1 million to help young people register to vote for midterm elections and to try to bring about some change. you also tweeted that the gop is falling short on protect thing our schools. what's your thinking there? why do you think that is? >> well, let me say, in terms of registering and engaging young people, we're the largest grassroots organization to try to engage young people, people under 35 in our democratic political process. so it's a natural extension for us to go to high schools, which we've done before, to make sure that eligible voters there are rnl registered and participate. but i think we can clearly see in the wake of this tragedy that the administration and the republican party are not taking
sensible, common sense steps to make sure that our young people are safe. and i think that the president's job, number one job is to protect the safety of the american people and in particular, young people, people under the age of 18, who are absolutely dependent on the state, and i think it's shameful the way he's responded to this crisis. >> i was going to ask about your response to the president's proposal about possibly arming teachers and other school staff members with guns, which is something that's already happening and has been going on for years in places like texas. what are your thoughts on that? >> i think when we look state by state, or if we look, for instance, to australia, where they took guns away. they had a sincere attempt to reduce the number of guns in their population, you see the amount of gun violence go down by over half. so the idea that the way to stem gun violence is to make sure there are more guns present, there's more opportunity for violence, is something which is,
you know, on the face of it, makes no sense. and i think that his proposal to arm the teachers is of the same caliber and the same value as his proposal to make the mexicans pay for the wall between our two countries. the fact of the matter is, on the face of it, it makes no sense. it may make some political sense for him, but in terms of preserving the safety and the lives of american children, it makes absolutely no sense. and it doesn't deserve any real discussion. the question is, why is the president of the united states not protecting our children? that's the real question? >> tom steyer with next gen america, sir, we appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you for having me, aaron. coming up, it's not what some at cpac wanted to hear. a leading conservative calls out fellow republicans for allegedly being hypocrite on the treatment of women. reaction was so strong, she had security guards escort her out for her own safety. this new day looks nothing like yesterday. trails are covered.
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i'm disappointed in people on our side. >> okay. >> for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the white house, who brag about their extramare th al affairs, who brag about mistreating women. and because he happens to have an "r" after his name, we look the other way, we don't complain. >> mona charen of the "national
review" speaking at the conservative political action conference yesterday. in our last hour, she spoke about president trump and the people who support him. >> i've been so frustrated over the last two years, watching so many leaders of the conservative movement and leaders of the republican party sort of fold to trumpism. this is somebody who is not deserving of our administration, that he should be criticized, that he should not be treated as some sort of moral leader. >> joining me now, chief political correspondent for the christian broadcasting network, david brody. he has a new book, "the faith of donald j. trump: a spiritual biography." it tackles the president's religious beliefs and his support among the evangelicals. david, you just heard mona charen's remarks there. how do you explain evangelicals backing president trump despite the allegations of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women, also the allegations of
an affair with an adult film star. how do you explain the evangelical connection with the president? >> well, you know, obviously, he can explain that situation himself. i will say this. as it relates to evangelicals, look, they understand that donald trump is a sinner, but guess what, so am i, so are you, and so is everybody out there. and the good news about jesus and about this book, "the faith of donald trump," it talks about god's grace for everyone. it doesn't matter if you've sinned one time, 30 times, a million times. god's there for you, even when you're 71 years old and you're president of the united states and until you breathe your last breath, jesus wants you in heaven. so here we go. donald trump has had a interesting life, a rough life. when i say "rough," he's had a lot of moral failings in his life, for sure. but this book, "the faith of donald trump" is not the sainthood of donald trump. that's not what this book is. it talks about his faith journey and he's been on a spiritual
voyage, especially the last two years. and auraron, if you look at whas gone on before that, you see a lot of problems in the past. recently, the grandfather donald trump, the last two years is what i'm talking about, we haven't seen much of that escapades in terms of what mona's been talking about. >> in your book, you write that trump was never going to pretend to be something he's knot. even talking to the christian broadcasting network, he wouldn't pretend to be a born-again altar boy who has seen the light. trump knew the game, but he wasn't going to play it, because what you say in iowa should match what you say in new hampshire. now, you had an in-depth conversation with the president. how did he describe his faith? >> right, i actually spoke to him in the oval office for this book. he calls himself a believer. that's a direct quote. a believer. and he's not mike pence. what do i mean by that? he's not this evangelical christian who knows been around 30, 40 years and knows how to speak in the vernacular. he calls himself a believer, but there have been private
conversations with him with a lot of full-gospel pentecostal pastors that are in his life now talking to him about the jesus plus nothing scenario. and some of our reporting in the book, including paula white, his most closest spiritual adviser says, indeed, 100%, he has a relationship with the lord, jesus christ. it's important to point out, aaron, that this is a deeply researched book. i'm a journalist. so i'm not coming out necessarily and saying all of this. what i'm doing is, i'm putting it all out there for people that are close to him, that have talked to him about his spiritual walk. >> now, you've also called the financial presidential debate, when then-candidate trump spoke out, sometimes in graphic terms about abortion a pivotal moment. you actually wrote, "others before trump were authentically pro-life, but something seemed distinctive here. trump's affinity for a rumble would work well when defending the unborn." how much do you think evangelical support is due to the president's stance on pro-life issues? do evangelical voters have more of a pragmatic transactional relationship with this
president? >> for sure. it was a huge part of it. it is practical to a degree. it's not just practical, but the pro-life issue is huge. because, look, hillary clinton during the 2016 presidential election and during that debate that you're referring to, supported partial birth abortion, straight up. donald trump, not only said, i'm not for partial birth abortion, but this is basically inhumane and started to explain the procedure in detail. lo look, aaron, no republican candidate has ever done that, especially on a debate stage. i'm talking about a republican candidate for president. that was a seminal moment. talk about to evangelical leaders, that was a pig debig dr him to be bold on that issue. there is a story in the book, and kellyanne conway, telling me the story, is that it was president trump and mike pence, kellyanne conway all there in the west wick and kellyanne conway was going to go speak to the march for life rally, that big pro-life rally that happens every january. this was the first one back in
2017. president trump said to mike pence, hey, mike pence, why don't you go as well. because mike pence was not going to go. turns out mike pence did go, but it was because mike pence wanted him to go. thought it would be a good idea. donald trump actually had a scheduling conflict already. but the point is, he's actually very involved behind the scenes in some of those evangelical moves. >> all right, david brody, author of the new book "the faith of donald j. trump." thanks for joining us today. >> thanks, aaron. as the nation debates the gun question after the parkland massacre, how much influence will the nra ultimately have? that's next. and in you areour next hour korea's new overture for talks with the u.s. is a dialogue in the offing? -right away, i could tell his priorities were a little unorthodox. -keep going. stop. a little bit down. stop. back up again. is this adequate sunlight for a komodo dragon? -yeah. -sure, i want that discount on car insurance just for owning a home, but i'm not compromising.
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before i get your thoughts i want to play a clip of democratic congressman ted deutsche weighing in this morning. >> the shift to arming teachers is a distraction. it's a distraction from the important discussion about all of the things that can be done right now, this week when we go back to washington, on mental health, bands bump stocks. those aren't controversial. >> is this distracting from those other potential means for addressing mass shootings? >> i don't think it's distracting at all. arming teachers who are well trained, not every single teacher who wants to own a gun, giving them a gun and letting them wield it whenever they want to, we're talking about well-trained, well-armed teachers that are able to defend themselves and defend their students. i don't see how that's a distraction at all. it's really a false choice to say we have to either talk about
arming teachers or talking about mental health issues. i don't think we have to make that decision. most republicans that are for the second amendment are also for taking measures to make sure that we are addressing the mental health issue in a common sense and logical way. we are offering real solutions. >> basil, i'll let you respond to that. you seem to want to say something. >> it's stunning we're having a conversation like this. when i was 12 years old, a 14-year-old shot at me because he wanted me to sell drugs for him and i kept refusing. the same logic is i should have had a gun also. none of this makes any sense whatsoever. we should be giving teachers money for books and pencils instead of handing out guns. having said that, we are 3% -- wait a minute.
>> we're not handing them out. >> we are 3% of the world's population in 42% of the world's guns. it's like a natural resource for us. it's in our culture and dna. we should not be talking about arming everyone. we should be talking about taking guns out of the hands of individuals. i don't want to go and send any child into a school where there are teachers walking around with guns. that does not make any good policy sense. >> why? okay, so but what we know is that the people who were armed, the broward county sheriff's department, the only people that could have helped didn't help. so you would rather everyone be defenseless, only the sheriff's department to have guns. for nonto be able to defend yourselves, is that your solution? >> let's be clear about this. there has been widespread condemnation of the individuals who were trained to do their job, but did not do their job. many of the police officers and
law enforcement officials that i know and have spoken to condemn those officers for not doing what they should have done according to their oath, but those individuals were also trained. governments put money behind the training of those individuals to be able to use those guns. what are you going to do to train individuals to use guns and know which situations where they can use the weapons in, particularly with children around? do we really want to get into that place as a country? that is shocking to me. why do we have to talk about arming everyone and having everyone defend themselves by giving everybody a gun when there are all these other countries around the planet that have been able to reduce gun violence by doing the exact opposite. >> we are not saying we're going to arm everyone. we want to make sure that people have the choice to arm themselves. as a woman, i'm absolutely defenseless if a man tries to attack me with or without a firearm. i want to be able to defend myself. to take that choice away from people, to tell the a teacher
who would want to be well-armed and trained that no, you can't defend yourself, only police officers are allowed to have guns, that doesn't seem very empowering or equalizing. this is not about making everyone arm themselves. this is giving them a choice. >> i'll tell you, aid whole list of questions i wanted to ask you about a lot of things, but not happening today. basil and allie, we appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> thanks. coming up in our next hour, sizing up ivanka trump's role representing the invites to the world. how did she do in her leading olympic role? we all want to know about the new thing.
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we are approaching the top of the hour, that means it's time for me to get back to d.c. i'm making way for my colleague, david gura. >> at msnbc headquarters in new york here. memo on top of memo. democrats hit back defending the government's surveillance of a trump campaign ad. in a late night call to fox news, the president blames the other side. no thank you, another phone call leads mexico's president to cancel a visit to the united states. we'll have the latest also on the florida school shooting, the broward county sheriff says he's demanding amazing leadership even though his deputies didn't confront the shooter. the president's daughter doesn't have security clearance, but she's traveling abroad talking about u.s. sanctions on behalf of the united states. let's begin