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>> what would you call yourself? >> i mean, people have called me a survivor. i would call myself lucky. 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 headquarters. trump family trouble. why jared kushner's business talks during the presidential transition may be under scrutiny. plus, a matter of trust. hope hicks admits to telling white lies for the president. so should her testimony in a russia investigation be trusted? angry and unglued. in a new report the official os reveal the real reasons behind some of the president's unexpected moves this week. the three american products that could be under attack if president trump creates a trade war with the world. we begin with a live picture of the white house capping off a
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roller coaster week. nbc news now learning that special counsel robert mueller's team is looking whether jared kushner's foreign business ties influenced president trump's. officials from qatar and turkey and the united arab emirates. one member of the intelligence community is sounding new alarms of president trump's behavior this week. here's what john john brennan said on msnbc last night. >> he must be feeling this pressure. there is a part of me that was very angry at donald trump for the things he said and he did. i am worried into the realm of deep wery and concern. if we have someone in the oval office that is inexperienced and also unethical, we really have rough waters ahead.
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also new today, more fallout from president trump threatening a surprised trade war over steel. a wild week made hisem eager foa fight. hallie jackson has more. >> reporter: president trump leaving a washington wind storm can't shake the turbulence to the tough new tariffs he announced on aluminum and steel. >> the dow is going to close down about 50 points. >> reporter: what the commerce secretary calls a tremendous overreaction, arguing any price hike passed to consumers is chump change. >> i just bought this can today. at a 7-eleven down here and the price was $1.99. who in the world is going to be too bothered by 0.06. > >> reporter: but the risk that higher costs could passed to you, but other countries could retaliate. making it tougher for american
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products to sell overseas from wheat like farms like this one. >> we depend a lot on exports and the fact that something threatens those exports really makes it tough for us. >> reporter: the president aiming to protect u.s. metal worke workers, trade wars are tough and easy to win. >> trade battles can be possibly easy to win, trade wars are damaging to everybody. >> reporter: the president became unglued this week in the words of one source by a series of events including hope hicks' testimony to lawmakers on russia. that's according to two officials familiar with the matter. the president picked one on trade, throwing the markets and his west wing into turmoil with a single sentence. >> 25% for steel. it will be 10% for aluminum. >> the white house points out the president's position on tougher trade actions should come as no surprise to anybody who has watched the campaign. as for whether he will actually, formally sign this next week, we
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are told never say never, but that he's pretty committed to moving this forward. dara, back to you. >> thank you. let's bring in julia manchester and sean sullivan, congressional reporter for "washington post." sean, are you and your colleagues hearing what prompted president trump to become, quote, unglued? >> it certainly has been a turbulent week for this white house, for this president, for the people around him. even in, you know, a greater context where you have a lot of these turbulent weeks. but, look, this was a week that was personal for the president. the turmoil that jared kushner is surrounded by and other staffers in the west wing are surrounded by and hope hicks who was not only trump's top communication's aide and someone very, very close to him, even dating back to the campaign days. it's not surprising to see the president sort of take an aggressive and combative stance.
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we've seen this time and again over the last couple years when he besiege and faces trouble. he tends to take these combative stances and lashes out against various people. i think we're seeing that in the way he's challenging democrats, but his own party right now. >> if you had to prioritize this week's headlines, what do you think was the most damaging for the white house? >> i think jared kushner was probably the most damaging to begin with and then yesterday chief of staff john kelly's comments saying that he would have absolutely nothing to resign over amid the rob porter scandal. i think a lot of people interpreted that as john kelly almost giving himself a tap on the back for the handling of that. and what i thought was interesting in his comments about that, is he said that he was only aware at first of the emotional abuse that the white house had -- the emotional abuse that reports the white house had heard about the emotional abuse rob porter had inflicted on his wife. i thought that was interesting
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because it seemed like john kelly was saying emotional abuse isn't as bad as physical abuse. and i think that was very damaging. we saw that rob porter's ex-wife jennifer willoghby issued a statement basically criticizing him for that. i think john kelly at the very end, basically, topped off a very interesting week for the white house. >> sean, i want to turn to your colleagues reporting on jared kushner's apparent downfall. here's the headline. jared had faded inside the 28 days that left kushner diminished privately. the president has reiterated his long-standing concerns. concerned that he was in his view being dishonestly maligned. but everything might be better for them if they simply gave up their government jobs and returned to new york. that is according to a white house official. what is it? does he want them to stay or does he want them to go? >> there's this increasing sense
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not only from the president and from the people around him and the broader community in washington that jared kushner is somebody who came in and had virtually no government political experience and had almost this princely status in trump's washington and that over the past year, you know, he has shown and demonstrated that perhaps this is not something that he was fully prepared for in the eyes of a lot of people. you know, when you look at the business ties that he has had that have come under close scrutiny, that is something that has raised eyebrows among a lot of people. here is somebody if you rewind to about a year ago was sort of untouchable in trump's washington. the fact that now we're talking about, you know, well, maybe he should be doing something that is not in the white house. and the fact that that's being discussed that highest level is even among the president himself shows you how dramatic a fall this is for somebody who was sort of an untouchable figure if you rewind to a year ago. >> julia, does president trump's
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concern over the liability of jared and ivanka. are they posing to help explain why they left the matter over security clearances up to chief of staff kelly? >> yes. i mean, that is very much a possibility. i think jared and ivanka are at the center of a series of other scandals that have really engulfed the media scrutiny towards the white house. we see that ivanka, cnn reported yesterday that ivanka's business deal with trump real estate over the opening of trump hotel in vancouver is now reportedly under investigation. and i think that's definitely -- stories like that and there was also a story about jared kushner's father recently reaching out -- trying to reach a deal with the qatari government months back and then there was a bit of a scuffle between the trump administration and qatar like shortly after. so, i think these reports don't bode well for the white house at all. and it seems that it's really
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bad publicity and i think the president has certainly picked up on that. but we have to remember, this is also the president's daughter. and i think the president has really seen his daughter take a beating in the press recently. so, i think the president is very concerned about her well being with kushner, though, i think it's just a series of bad headlines for him. >> sean, speaking of security clearance here. john kelly spoke to reporters yesterday to give them a timeline for rob porter's resignation last month. how are you reading into the timing of kelly's new explanation and why reignite the rob porter scandal? >> this is a question a lot of people looking at this story have. when they see john kelly weeks after the story has come, gone, resurfaced, again. we've seen it come up over and over and at a point when we're talking about tariffs and other things, we see john kelly bringing it up, again. i think that has raised some questions from some people. why would he bring this up
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again? i think what we can read, at least a little bit from his comments yesterday is that he wants to make a couple of things clear. one, that he is not leaving. that he doesn't have any plans to leave the white house. we're talking about a lot of departments and potential departures and i think he wanted to reiterate from his perspective that he didn't do anything wrong. from the perspective of others they certainly questioned his timeline. questioned his version of events and how he reacted. and i think he wants to get out there and sort of defend himself personally as a top aide in the white house in what is, as we talked about a very chaotic situation right now where it seems like no staffer, no aide, you know, is potentially safe from any sort of dismissal or resignation or anything like that. but i think he wanted to send a signal, hey, i'm not going anywhere. >> julia, let's talk about president trump's latest attack on attorney general jeff sessions. what is different now or are we reading too much into this?
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>> i think what's different now is that jeff sessions has fought back. i would like to draw our attention to some photos that emerged from jeff sessions dining with attorney general ros ros ros rosenstein while that was happening. sessions is not going to back down from his job. at the same time the president seems taalmo s to almost be pus he were to fire sessions, that would be conundrum in congress. apoint another attorney general nominee. i think the president, this is just him taking his anger out over jeff sessions recusing himself almost a year ago from the russia investigation and i think this is him almost pushing him to resign, but sessions is not backing down. >> he's going to stay on.
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julia manchester, sean sullivan, stay with us. we have more headlines to delve into. the head banging in washington over the president's plan to tax heavy metal. the fallout on wall street and main street, next. right now, a late-night take on the tariffs. >> most economists agree that trump's massive new tariffs will hurt u.s. businesses and consumers because it could make things like beer, cars and baseball bats more expensive. i mean, when i hear that, it makes you want to get drunk and smash a car with a baseball bat. but who can afford it now? re pe, and forced to flee the country of your birth. but you started a new life in a brand new world. when i built my ancestry family tree, i found your story... then, my dna test helped me reclaim the portuguese citizenship you lost. i'm joshua berry, and this is my ancestry story. combine ancestry's dna test and historical records to discover your story.
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aluminum. a move that has sparked criticism from many republicans, including house speaker paul ryan. joining me now to discuss this latest move is ron. so, tell me, did this seem out of left field or do you think there was any inkling this was going to happen? >> suggested this happened in a fit of rage or anger or the president were unglued, as it were. in a meeting with steel and aluminum executive s to take a break, come back in and announce he was raising tariffs of 10% and 25% respectively against all countries that provide those products to the u.s. it seems impulsive and i'm sure he had an idea with about this. fits in line with his trade views and peter novarro and wilbwil wilbur ross, they have been looking to do this for a while. the president found the
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opportunity to do it late last week. >> slapping tariffs on harley davidsons, kentucky bourbon and blue jeans. what does this mean and is this now the beginning of a full fledged trade war? >> it's hard to tell. it could go in that direction. the more impulsive the white house becomes with respect to trade if we pulled out of nafta which would be a much bigger deal than these tariffs. then you have some real risks we could have a risk around the world. some of the risks we haven't talked about much, china and japan, for instance, collectively own $2.3 billion worth of u.s. treasury bonds. if they want to sell bonds as interest rates are going up anyway they could send a message that they could affect the value of the dollar and the level of interest rates and that is something that could have much greater consequences for the economy than just these small, retaliatory steps.
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>> serious long-term effect. the stock market hasn't done well in the aftermath of the surprise decision. do you think there is a chance that president trump will step away in terms of preserving one of the big highlights in his presidency. >> they're going to go through with signing the paperwork on the tariffs. we'll see if he changes his mind and important to note that the stock market closed off its lows yesterday. the dow was down as much as 391 points. closed down 71. both the s&p 500 and the nasdaq closed higher on the day after being down. so, maybe some optimism that some of this will get watered down or become more targeted. right now blanket tariffs on steel and aluminum from every country that provides it to us, including canada, our single largest trading partner and one of our most important allies. i'm sure there might be more hope that this is more targeted, less broad, but we'll have to wait and see what the president does. >> "washington post" is reporting that shortly before president trump announced the tariffs, carl icahn dumped $31.3
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million of steel-related stocks. is that possible or do you think this is likely a coincidence? do you think he maybe knew ahead of time? >> you can't make that allegations without any facts at your disposal and i don't have them. it is -- the timing is curious. it may be coincidental. again, going back to the report that the president did this rather impulsively yesterday or the day before, one would wonder how carl icahn would know that is coming or anyone would let him know that it was being discussed within the white house. all these gentlemen have known each other for decades. it would be highly unusual and certainly illegal for somebody to pick up the phone and tell a money manager like carl icahn that something was coming. it wouldn't be unprecedented, but it certainly bears more investigation. >> you bring up commerce secretary wilbur ross because he's backing president trump here on the tariff. let's listen to this. >> this is a can of campbell's soup.
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it's in the can of campbell's soup there is about 2.6 cents. 2.6 pennies worth of steel. it doesn't mean anything. so, all this hysteria is a lot to do about nothing. >> is there credence to what secretary ross is saying there. will average americans be affected by this tariff on steel and aluminum? >> from my spur speperspective at this from 30,000 feet it is largely beyond the point. will the cost of a car go up? will the cost of a baseball bat go up? will the cost of campbell's soup go up? i don't believe that individuals will see this passed along immediately. but the bigger question here, dar dara, is whether or not this leads to a damaging trade war that could affect the consumer prices, the prices of imports going up and if we start to see
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a trade war develop out of these first moves, however unlikely that might be, then you start disrupting the global economy. if we pull out of nafta, again, for instance, that is something that will have enormous consequences for the economy and whether a can of campbell's soup goes up a couple cents. >> ron, thank you so much for spending your morning with us. the departure of hope hicks and whether the white house comment doomed her in the white house. 3, 2, 1... not cool. freezing away fat cells with coolsculpting? now that's cool! coolsculpting safely freezes and removes fat cells with little or no downtime. and no surgery. results and patient experience may vary. some rare side effects include temporary numbness, discomfort and swelling. ask your doctor if coolsculpting is right for you and visit coolsculpting.com today... for your chance to win a free treatment. burned me up and down, shno way to cool it. ♪ ♪ ♪ every time you kiss me it's like sunshine and whiskey ♪
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heightened speculation of whether hope hicks will spill the beans about her time in the trump white house. hicks could stand to gain $10 million for a tell-all book. a white house insider said hicks has been keeping what is described as a detailed diary with her white house work and her interactions with the president. sean, let's start with you, white house is saying hope hicks' departure has been months in the making. is there a clearer sense on why she left? >> not yet.
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i think a lot of people are still wondering about the timing of this departure. but, you know, this is somebody who was very, very close to the president. not only in the white house, but dating back to the campaign. one of his top confidants. this is a departure until we get a clearer explanation is going to raise a lot of questions still about the timing of it. >> and, julia, how big of a deal is her departure. >> it's a very big deal. i think hope hicks, although he was formally the communication's director, i think her real title was more of a trump whisperrer. the president often used her as a sounding board and she was one of his closest confidants. now that he lost her, things are on shaking ground with jared and ivanka and more scandals with general kelly. i think the president is very much without hope hicks in a very different place and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. >> sean, i want to ask you, they talk about hope hicks admitting she told white lies. dayou think maybe that was the
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reason or maybe just the last straw? >> it's possible that it was the reason. it's possible it was the last straw. it's possible that it was unrelated. this is somebody when we talk about hope hicks, you know, publicly is a private person and not somebody who goes out and gives a lot of interviews the way other white house officials do. we may never know, at least not in the immediate future the full story of what led to this departure. >> julia, real quick, any chances that hope's comments actually might have been unsettled president trump? >> i mean, like sean said, it's possible, but i think this is a very grueling job to be communications director, especially in this administration and i think with the rob porter scandal she had been linked to him and romantically involved with him. she saw that play out in a very public way. it is possible, too, that could have been the last straw. >> tough job. no doubt. thanks for being here. that will do it for me. i'm dara brown. thanks for watching. at the top of the hour alex wit
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