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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  March 5, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PST

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in the can of campbell's soup, there's about 2.6 cents, 2.6 pennies worth of steel. here is a can of coca-cola. coca-cola has 3 cents worth of aluminum in it. it doesn't mean anything. so, all this hysteria is a lot to do about nothing. >> let them eat soup. what happened? >> well, they -- >> commerce secretary wilbur ross, one of the wealthiest people in america who built part of his fortune from steel interests. >> also one of the most articulate obviously. >> shrugs off concerns about the potential economic fallout from an increased tariff on steel. it's a policy reportedly launched by an unglued president deflecting his anger in unchecked ways. >> whoa. >> and happy good monday morning to you. >> it was wild. seriously, that was an snl skit.
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>> that was real. >> then he started talking about aluminum in cars. oh, it doesn't cost that much. >> exactly. >> somebody commented it would take paul ryan's secretary that he was talking about something 30 years for the tax cuts to pay for the difference. >> yeah. it was wild. but that was just one of the wild things that happened around this tariffs thing. from all the reporting, it seems that the president was frustrated and kind of unhinged at the time and he just said, you know, i'm going to do this thing that i can do. >> right. let's do. live in washington we have nbc news national news political reporter, heidi prison bella, michael steele, pulitzer prize winning journalist and columnist and associated editor of the washington post and msnbc political analyst eugene robinson and president on the
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council on foreign relations and author of the book "a world in disarray" richard haase. >> michael had to pay an extra $10 to get up. >> really? >> the tariff on steel. >> boom. >> thank you. >> wow. >> so michael, so the republican party now is a party of tariffs. it's a party of protectionism. it's a party of high deficits. it's a party of higher debt. it's all the things that i ran against in '94. it's all the things that most candidates -- this is not the party of ronald reagan. it's not even the party of george h.w. bush. this is -- i mean, we always joked that trump wasn't really a joke but that trump was a liberal new yorker, but these policies. >> yeah. the policies are certainly outside of anything republicans had adhered to before. and even during the reagan years when reagan went into the space, he didn't go in with a sledge
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hammer on tariffs. he went in and he negotiated and kind of worked out up to a point short of imposing tariffs to this extent. >> right. >> and the fact of the matter is, this is the trumpification of the party. you and many others have said that as well. the question going forward, is policy now going to be formed out of the emotional or other reaction of the president, or is it that it's going to have a sound policy base? >> mood policy. >> right. >> and the question becomes for the ryans and the mcconnells of the world, how do they translate that? >> how do they work with that? >> i reached out to some folks close to mcconnell and said, what are you going to do with this, with this tariff move? which, by the way, the one thing that's different about this, this is really the first time we've seen this president's mood directly affect policy. because we know that there was supposed to be a middle step there that this party, that the
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advisers around him, had hoped there would be some targeted set of tariffs targeting china and that maybe that would be a backstop against the worst. and instead. >> boom. >> boom. >> think about this, mika, all the reports from "the new york times," "the washington post," we'll be talking to phillip rutger in a moment, think about this disconnect. the president is angry about how hope hicks is leaving. the president is angry that jeff session's attorney general had dinner with rod rosenstein. the president's raging. and because those things happened, the president decides to start a trade war because he can. i mean, i would much rather just be glad to send over a call of duty with the headphones and let him play video games.
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what he's doing here instead is he's harming our relationship with our allies. just ask the secretary of defense and also hurting working class americans. now, at some point somebody will be smart enough on the democratic side, may have to give them ten years because they don't seem to be very smart over there, but somebody will get smart enough to put together all the things that donald trump is doing that is hurting working class americans. you can start with the trump tax, which is on tariffs. i mean, how much is that going to cost working class americans when they go into walmart and go into sam's? how much is that going -- you can talk about the trump tax cuts. right now, of course, i don't know if you noticed, but they've had to stop actually talking about the trump tax cuts in pennsylvania 18. the most important race because it doesn't -- unlike the lies we heard from national republicans that this was a boom for
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republicanism. >> it's not. >> it's not moving. in fact, most of the people in the recent poll -- donald trump sanctioned poll -- agreed with nancy pelosi's comment that working class americans were only getting, quote, crumbs from this tax cut. and then you can look at health care. donald trump and republicans have done everything they could do to strip away the guarantees of health care from working class americans that they get in obama care. so, at some point the democrats instead of saying better deal, at some point they're going to actually say, this is how much the trump tax is going to cost you. this is how much the trump tariff is going to cost you. this is how much the trump tax is costing you in gutting your health care. go down the line. they have a remarkable story to tell. >> so, what we have, though, with this president -- i don't know if you guys remember, the
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beginning of the administration, there was all this talk about ivanka trump being the moderating force. if there was a moderating force in this white house, it might have been hope hicks. the increasing pace of chaos at the trump white house was the source of the president's jokes at this weekend's gridiron dinner. according to "the washington post," it's also feeding a grave sense of concern among donald trump's top advisers. quote, trump's friends are increasingly concerned about his well being, worried that the president's obsession with cable commentary and perceived slights is taking a toll on the 71-year-old. quote, pure madness lamented one exaspirated ally. two officials told nbc news that the president's announcement of new steel and aluminum tariffs emerged from anger, unlike any they had seen before resulting from a trifecta of events hope hick's testimony to lawmakers
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investigating russia, conduct by attorney jeff sessions not conducted by, and the treatment of his son-in-law jared kushner by chief of staff john kelly. quote, on wednesday evening, the president became unglued in the words of one official familiar with the president's state of mind. trump, the two officials said, was angry and gunning for a fight. and he chose a trade war. continuing over the weekend with a tweet on saturday about trade with the european union, threatening to apply a new tax and writing last night, quote, our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the u.s. for many years. >> richard haase, our friends across the world certainly read newspapers. they have contacts in washington, d.c. and know what's going on, how unsettling is it that they hear that the president of the united states starts a trade war that actually our own pentagon
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believes would be injurious to our alliances across the globe because donald trump is angry with the testimony of hope hicks and that hope hicks is leaving the white house? >> well, it's unsettling and worse, joe, in two dimensions. one is the substance of the policy. i expect to talk about that a lot more. but there will be no winners from this. far more american workers will pay a price because of this than any jobs that are saved. you got the policy part of this, which is really unfortunate. this undermines or unravels one of the fundamentals of american foreign policy for the last 70 years, which is to promote free trade and global trade agreements and get into what you've been talking about this morning, the combination of process or lack of it and the president's personality and his mood. so, if you could take away one of the planks, one of the foundation stones of american foreign policy in a rage one evening, what else is
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vulnerable? what about nato? what about u.s. relations with the allies or with russia? what this does is raises fundamental questions for countries that have essentially put their security eggs, their futures in american hands. trust me, all around the world they are rethinking that. >> richard, all around the world, they're also saying the united states and china, the two major powers on the globe today, you have china everyday with evidence that they are looking forward to 2050, 2075 to even the next century. they are obsessing over alternative energy sources. they are obsessing over a.i. they are obsessing over cutting -- breaking new areas in technology. you have the american president obsessing literally on 1800 technology.
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i'm not kidding. while they're looking at a.i., the american president is looking at mining. he wants to revive mining like he's in york, england, in 1863. it's true. and while they're talking about creating alternative energy sources that will dominate the next century, so they won't need oil or anything that we have, donald trump is talking about recreating a manufacturing base that owes more to 1957 in the great lakes region than what china is doing. it's really frightening. >> we're exactly right. we're a century different from china. they're looking ahead. we're looking back. the president asked what's a country that doesn't produce steel? that might be a country that's leader in a.i. or alternative energy or in robotics, that's training its workers not for the jobs that will never come back but it's training its workers so they're able to take the jobs that will come into existence.
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china is looking forward. we're looking backwards. guess who will dominate the 21st century if this continues? >> well, last week china announced a move to alter its constitution, paving the way for xi jinping to rule for life. >> boy, who ever saw that coming? >> during a closed door speech on saturday at mar-a-lago, president trump said, quote, he's now president for life. president for life. no, he's great. look, he was able to do that. i think it's great. maybe we'll have to give that a shot some day. >> i think he's great. i think it's great. >> i'm telling you -- >> you know, that was like -- last week was just stunning thing after stunning thing after stunning thing. that was one of the most stunning things that the chinese leader makes a clear play to become leader for life, the heir
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and the president of the united states you would expect to say, this is not a good idea. >> grave concern. the room reportedly responded with applause and laughter to the statement made by a smiling president. >> so, there are many people who say, oh, the president was just joking. i could give you a list of the thousands things where they claim the president was joking afterwards. and if there was laughter, there was laughter. people made uncomfortable. but there are statements in the past that donald trump has made where he has praised xi for consolidating power. china has become more and more autocratic over the past six months to a year. he's made conscious moves to become more and more autocratic. you have donald trump praising erdogan. >> duterte. >> when he goes out. so, this is important, though, when republicans, gene, are just
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saying, it's just a joke. or when republicans ignore the fact that this man is talking about being president for life, if they think that donald trump is joking, then they're fools. i don't think they're fools. i think they know exactly what he's saying. but again, the first part is the most disturbing. >> it's totally disturbing. we all know chinese elections are not what we think of as elections or what we thought of elections before when ever putin started running them. but they're not what we think of as free and fair elections. but we have always encouraged the sort of routines of democracy in china. we've encouraged anything that sort of looks like they're progressing in a direction of more freedom and representation. and now it's just fine that they'll have a leader for life. >> you look at some of his attitudes towards race and other things and you worry.
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this guy wants to bring us back in time. heidi, the people in the room clapping and laughing. at this point, who would clap and laugh at that? i mean, i would be stone faced. >> you have to hope that it was nervous laughter because the reason why -- joke is not funny when there's some tendency of truth here. and when there are strains of authoritarianism going on here in the homeland. when you see the way that the wall is being blown between this executive and, for example, the department of justice. the racism, for example, like you mentioned. and that is something that the people in the room, i think, probably were laughing nervously at. i don't know. i wasn't there. >> at this point, i would urge -- >> that scene from "jurassic park" with jeff goldbloom.
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this is great. this is wonderful. yeah, first sort of the laughing and playing and then the running and screaming. >> right. >> that's what we're talking about here. and republicans who are sitting back quietly nervously laughing at this, we're talking about the constitution. is this to your first point about what the republican party is, is this the next place we're going to? >> at some point somebody has to stand up and speak out about this. richard haass, again, let's expand this out to trade and what this means. the united states, of course, its soft power has come much by the values we projected across the globe over the past 200 years. we have been, you know, that old reagan lie. we have been the brightly on the hill. the last best hope for a dying world. but the message that donald trump is sending out is, yep. if you can seize power by being
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an auto cat, fantastic. and we are now competing against the chinese in a valueless vacuum. where the chinese when they're going around the world and they're trying to strike trade deals, they don't care what's happening inside of those countries. they don't care about the repression and they certainly don't mind repressing people in their own country because unlike past leaders, donald trump's actually praising it. >> we no longer are shining city on a hill to many around the world. they look at our political dysfunction. they look at charlottesville and look at what president is saying about courts and the media. we no longer talk about values and principles in our foreign policy. we basically have an amoral foreign policy, some would say immoral. there's something about the chinese model that ought not to attract people. who is going to walk into the president's office and say, hey, mr. president, you're wrong here.
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the chinese are still paying an enormous price for their one-child policy. it was misguided but there was no one able to walk in and tell the leadership this is going to boomerang on us. beyond the moral issues, it's going to be really bad for people who will be of working age and so forth. china down the road who will walk in and tell xi jinping he's got it wrong. this kind of consolidation of power is not just un-american, it's counterproductive and we ought not to hold it off as some kind of a model. >> counterproductive. it's also dangerous. gene, let's put a little historical context on this and go from 1949 to '74, '75? >> yeah. >> around that time period. in that time because china consolidated power and people are talking about xi being like moa, think about the tragic consequences of moa's absolute power with the cultural revolution. >> the great leap forward, the
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famine. >> some estimate, 30, 40 million killed in china. the same about joseph stalin. everybody afraid to cross him. 30, 40 million russians killed by that and donald trump is praising a man's consolidation of power that has been compared repeatedly to moa's. >> this is not a hard lesson to learn. there's not a lot of counterexamples in modern history, right? there are not a lot. but one guy gets absolute power, bad, bad things happen. >> right. >> and so -- >> this president doesn't know history. >> well, that's true. >> he has no idea what he speaks of. >> that's true. >> isn't that the problem, he doesn't know history, doesn't know constitutional history, doesn't know constitutional norms, doesn't know diplomatic history and he has no interest in learning. >> no, he doesn't want to learn them. all he knows is it good for me and my image? is it good for -- >> does it feel good to say right now? it's even more visceral and
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stupid. >> you're right. >> it's an idealized view, too, of america and what it once was. and like as we see with the tariffs and everything, wanting to go back to a time where steel was king. as much as i like that title, that's not the reality. >> he's trying to -- >> there's a lot of stuff going on. >> i read a book review of pat buchanan, our dear friend, pat buchanan, and they said pat always wanted to return america -- this review is probably 15, 20 years old -- always wanted to return to beautiful, fall day in chevy chase in 1955. and it was never going back to that. and certainly donald trump really has adopted that. he wants to take america back to
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1955, whether you talk about economically, culturally or racially. and we're not going back. >> in terms of the industry and maybe in some ways culturally, but to this particular comment on china, i actually can't think of something that is more countercultural to americans because if there's one thing that bind us all together as americans it's that many of us can point back to someone in our family who either fled or fought a dictator, whether it was stalin or italy or all of us, that is the one thing that binds us together is that we never want something like that here. we never want something like that here. >> both of your parents -- which is why your father was so extreme correctly on the issue of totalitarian leadership. >> and how dangerous this president is. still ahead on "morning joe," president obama's former chief of staff lays blame on mitch mcconnell for the
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far-reaching impacts of russian meddling. we'll show you that. plus, it's basically a who's who of key players in the orbit of donald trump. nbc news reviewed a grand jury subpoena seeking communications related to multiple trump campaign advisers as part of the russia/mueller probe but first bill karins on a check of the forecast. >> mika, i heard you love march snow. >> you've got to be kidding me. >> we need some sun, my man. >> remember it was 60, 70 degrees two, three weeks ago. yeah, early spring. we could have another nor'easter wednesday night and another one behind that sunday this upcoming weekend. the storm is in the middle of the country in the northern plains. blizzard warnings for south dakota. minneapolis could get a snowstorm and could get as much as 6 inches of snow out of this. we'll take you through the week ahead. east coast today you're fine. west coast you recovered from your big storm, too. by the time we get to wednesday, here we go, redevelops, coastal
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storm. another nor'easter. we still have half a million people without power from the last one. friday, this mess is gone. right now we have winter storm watches that were just issued for all of new england. 33 million people, including new york city. here is our early first estimates on the snow with this storm. the purple color there, that's 6 inches. then we get to the pink and up here to the red. that's up to a foot of snow for areas of central and northern new england. this could be a significant snow that philly north wards, you look too warm, just rain for you. we have 48 hours of fine tune the snow map. you have travel plans wednesday afternoon, new england, keep in mind you may not be able to travel, especially at the airlines. washington, d.c., you avoided a lot of snow with the last one. i think you'll avoid it this time, too. so your spring flowers will be blooming soon. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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that's why we show you exactly when we'll be there. saving you time, so you can keep saving the world. >> kids: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace ♪ want us to do about what woulthis president?fathers i'm tom steyer, and when those patriots wrote the constitution here in philadelphia, they had just repelled an invading foreign power. so they created the commander in chief to protect us from enemy attack. the justice department just indicted 13 russians for sabotaging our elections. an electronic attack on america that the chief investigator called "warfare". so what did this president do? nothing. and is he doing anything to prevent a future attack? the head of the fbi says no.
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new perspective inside special counsel robert mueller's probe this morning as nbc news has reviewed a grand jury subpoena sent to one witness last month seeking communications related to multiple trump campaign advisers. first reported by ax ios, the list includes, carter page, president trump, corey lewandowski, hope hicks, keith schille, paul manafort, rick gates, roger stone and steve bannon. the request dates back november 1, 2015, four and a half months after trump began his campaign. >> people look at that and think that's a grand sbeweep. michael, if this were a normal investigation, that's the first thing you would do. you would send a discovery request and give me all e-mails, all texts, all communications between all these parties.
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so some people may be looking at that and go,my, that's awfully expansive. >> it's usually the very first thing. and keep in mind what mueller's already gathered, the information he's already gathered. now to come in on the backside and say, oh by the way, just send me all your e-mails and texts and everything else, this is now looking for those other pieces they're going to fill in and could potentially trap some people who have spoken to mr. mueller. >> this shows why, though, from the beginning it was folly to have trump pressuring comey to say that he personally wasn't under investigation because of course during the course of this, anything could happen. and you look, one of the names on there, trump. >> so meanwhile, president trump's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner remains under the shadow of robert mueller's russia probe. nbc news reported on friday that mueller's team has been asking witnesses about kushner's
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efforts to secure financing for his family's real estate properties. according to "the washington post," president trump has been asking people close to him whether they think kushner or his company has done anything wrong. that's according to a senior administration official. two advisers also tell the paper that the president repeatedly tells aides that the russia investigation will not ensnare him, even as it ensnares others around him and that he thinks the american people are finally starting to conclude that the democrats, as opposed to his campaign, colluded with the russians. >> so, first of all, gene, a couple things we need to break out there. >> uh-huh. >> the first, will the president end up not being ensnarled in this? i think that's likely. i think they'll get a lot of people around him, but i had somebody very close to the president ask me one time, do you think they're going to prove that the president colluded? i said, i don't think he has the attention span to conduct a
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full -- >> i think he could by mistake. >> hold on. to conduct a full blown conspiracy theory. the great iron of donald trump calling anybody else mr. mcgoo is hilarious he is the type character who could never these days conduct -- >> i don't think willfully. >> conduct a conspiracy. >> but by mistake? >> that said, others around him are getting ensnarled. >> and how close? >> the american people at this point, 58% of the american people in the latest poll trust mueller. 57% do not trust trump. this is going in the exact opposite direction of what the president is saying internally. >> yeah. and so he's living in this fantasy land where this probe could touch everybody right next to him but somehow he emerges unscathed and there's no reflection on him. that's ridiculous. someone close to him once said since he cannot collude with his
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cabinet or with anything else, it would be difficult for him to collude. >> the man can't collude with a ham sandwich right now. >> but he might collude by mistake. >> his attention span does not allow him to do that. >> but, you know, frankly it's not difficult to imagine a scenario where if he sees this sort of shiny object, this advantage, that he could lunge at and say i want that. >> that's right. >> without knowing the difference between right and wrong. >> exactly. with no sort of thought going into that. >> so, according to "the new york times," unnamed white house aides president trump has told jared kushner and wife ivanka trump, his daughter, they should keep serving in their roles even when he asked john kelly for his help in moving them out. that's fantastic. my god. >> heidi, this has been going on and off, though, for a very long time where the president after the las vegas shooting was
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running around the white house saying bad blood, bad blood, talking about the las vegas shooter and people close to the president said he was saying same thing with jared kushner, bad blood, bad blood, trying to move him out. and you have heard it repeatedly trying to move them out and then he comes back saying, well maybe not. now you're starting to hear again he wants them to go back to new york. >> that's what we've seen with this administration is that there is a very short shelf life for all of the most senior advisers, everyone, including hope hicks. by the way, we don't know exactly how that went down, right? he could have been upset right after the little white lies comment. would he be willing to do it when it touched his innermost familiar blood related relations? now with this inner reporting is yes. >> i think it was hope who wanted to leave. >> she just ran out the door.
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>> also, i would be absolutely shocked if hope hicks is either not cooperating with mueller right now or knows that she is going to have to tell the truth to mueller. she is not going to risk jail time. >> no. >> her family is not going to allow her to risk jail time. and she's going to have to tell the truth to bob mueller, which she could avoid when talking to the house. >> all these people have massive attorney fees that they have to deal with. richard haass, you have a new piece entitled "dear mr. president, reboot before it's too late" beyond the obvious legal questions surrounding mr. kushner's activities that call out for answers, there should be concerns about how he is operating. white house staff are meant to coordinate and set policy not carry it out. such activities should be the purview of the departments and agencies. but the challenges facing this administration transcend jared kushner. history suggests that policy is
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in large part the result of the intersection between personnel and process. there are thus real grounds for concern as the trump administration is plagued with problems on both fronts. they haven't filled jobs. >> richard haass, of course you making a recommendation to the president reboot is like you making a recommendation to the storm system coming east. >> stops no one. >> you did it any way. if the president is -- if the president is listening, if he's read your op-ed, what's the take away for the president? what does the president need to do mainly to reboot? >> well, he needs to first of all bring into the administration some experienced hands. hundreds of republican operatives, foreign policy and otherwise, essentially have original sin because at some point along the way they criticized either candidate trump or president trump. and he's denying himself all these people. the statute of limitations has
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to expire. these people have to be brought in. and he needs to have a more organized process. again, we talked about it in the tariff decision. that kind of ad hoc policymaking is a real disaster. you're not thinking about tradeoffs or intended consequences or how things are going to get implemented. over time it will come back and bite you. i realize it's unlikely but this actually needs to become a more traditional presidency because this kind of institutional cay y chaos, joe, has not had a real crisis. whether with north korea or russia does something or in the middle east or venezuela, what then? there's no evidence that this administration is ready for that. >> wow. >> are they going to send federal marshals to bring in
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these experienced hands and force them to the administration. >> they are not lining up. coming up, sources tell "the washington post" that these are the darkest days in the trump administration so far and it hasn't even hit rock bottom yet. we're going to bring in phillip rocker with his latest reporting. "morning joe" will be right back. let's begin. yes or no? do you want the same tools and seamless experience across web and tablet? do you want $4.95 commissions for stocks, $0.50 options contracts? $1.50 futures contracts? what about a dedicated service team of trading specialists? did you say yes? good, then it's time for power e*trade. the platform, price and service that gives you the edge you need. looks like we have a couple seconds left. let's do some card twirling twirling cards e*trade. the original place to invest online.
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are you concerned about the president's state of mind? >> his state of mind is fine. if he went to the gridiron last night, which i did and others did, he was very relaxed. he was self depdeprecating. he had good, humans you lines. i don't see any problem with his behavior at all. >> did you go to the gridiron? i know nobody is supposed to talk about if they went. did you go? >> i was there. >> how did the president do? >> he did okay. he was pretty relaxed, funny at times. >> there's even a comment about melania trump the screaming headline was he humiliating melania. >> no, she laughed. >> it looked like she was going to leave him. so it was actually self deprecating. the man can't do self deprecating. >> he took it and sat up there
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for four hours during a bunch of song and dance members making fun of him. he handled it okay. >> that's something. mika, i have neglected to do -- the biggest news. >> what are you doing? >> of the weekend. this is from sunday's "washington post" it seems that mika is a trend setter. >> yes, of course. >> mika started going all in on chickens, gene, a year ago. >> i love my schchickens. >> it seems that silicon valley's new status symbol a chicken. let me just say to my friends in silicon valley, if you're half as smart as you think you are, you will stop at chickens. don't go to micro picks. they're the devils. >> well, i have that, too. i will say that one of my chickens was killed last week. it was very sad. >> it was a savage killing. we think it was a hawk, gene. >> we don't know. >> it was a hawk? >> i don't know. >> not like a chef or something? >> it was horrible.
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anyhow, back to the news. >> this is a good segue. >> commerce secretary wilbur ross says president trump is on an even keel. >> thank you, wilbur. >> 22 white house officials, friends and advisers tell "the washington post" otherwise. with us now, white house bureau chief at "the washington post," nbc news political analyst phillip rutger who helped break that story for the post. how is it? >> 22. that's what the kids call pretty good sourcing. >> almost two dozen. >> wow. >> first of all, let's start with the big idea of this story. what's the take away? >> the take away is that the president is really at this moment of transition. he's as angry and isolated as his aides and friends have seen in quite some time, certainly since last summer when reince priebus was pushed out and the whole management turnover in the white house. it's troubling to the people who speak to him daily and know him best. he's been creeding with anger. over jeff sessions and the media
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coverage of his son-in-law jeff kushner. he's watching tv late at night and early in the morning and is furious with what he sees. >> i heard over the weekend hope hicks departure is scaring a lot of people in the white house because as they tell me, you know, 30 times a day he would shout, hope, get in here. she would get in there. he would give her information. she would go out, try to figure out what was -- >> what to tell him. >> what was manageable, what was not manageable and then she would go back in and knew how to manage him. >> yeah. we describe her as his de facto therapist in the oval office. she was the person who was the stabilizing force who could calm and soothe his moods and she'll be gone. >> is there reason to believe that with her gone that everybody inside and outside the white house have a lot more to be worried about? she actually wasn't a communication director with the outside world so much as she was a communication director to the president from the outside world. >> that's right. and white house officials we were talking to said, look, this
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could get worse. one of them said we haven't bottomed out yet. there's a real fear and anxiety about what's going to come in the next couple weeks and a lot of big decisions that the president has to make. >> yikes. >> was he angry by her testimony, the little white lies testimony? was he angry because based on your reporting because he feared that once she did speak to mueller she would tell mueller the truth? >> it's a good question. we heard conflicting information about that, whether he was truly angry at the testimony. i know for sure he was angry with the circumstance of her leaving, not mad at her necessarily, but mad that he's losing her because he knows how important she is to him. >> that night at tariff -- >> he also picks before he lost keith schiller, his body guard, arguably the two people closest to him longest, besides ivanka and jared, i mean, is he going to be okay with that or not? >> we'll see. he still has kellyanne conway
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who is close to him, who has an ability to sort of talk to him directly at certain moments. although she's not an original like hope hicks. there's some speculation he might try to bring in some of those trump originals, maybe a corey lewandowski, although he's highly controversial within the government. >> can i just say about kellyanne conway, though. >> yeah. >> there's another piece on kellyanne conway this weekend. there is a reason why kellyanne conway is the one member of the inner circle that you never see on any of robert mueller's lists. she was never in any meeting of any value. she's never been on the inside of anything that mattered. i'm not saying that being ugly. i'm just saying trump has kept her at an arm's distance, has he not? >> in the periods where mueller is looking most intensively, the transition period and the early moments of the white house and certainly the moments like the firing of jim comey, the events that could paint a portrait of
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an obstruction of justice, she was not a key player. she was a key player in the campaign and the final two to three months in campaign where trump was in the hole and she was out talking on it have and managing him. >> was she ever on any inside meetings during the campaign? she wasn't in the manafort meeting. >> she's thankful not to have been in those meetings. >> that's the point. >> point taken. >> she has never been in a principal's meeting before. >> she has an ability to talk to him, so i think the fact that she stays in the white house now could help calm him down a little bit. >> so she communicates with him one on one but is not in these big principal's meetings? >> she's in some of the principal's meetings, but not all of them, right. >> thank you. >> it is, mika, from the ten years that we knew him, keith and hope hicks were those two
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were actually more intimate than -- as far as day in, day out workings of the trump -- they were family. and in a sense, you always saw them around more than ivanka. >> sure. >> more than jared. >> absolutely. >> especially keith. keith was there all the time. and nobody said this and i'm certainly not saying anything about his age, i know the older i get the more i want routine, the less i want change. and so you think about it, this guy is 71. he's in a town he's never been in before, town he doesn't really care to be in, and everybody that he's known, that he's worked with through the years is gone. that has to have a destabilizing impact on anybody. >> well, it's poor decision making because if hope was someone he wanted around for whatever reason because he felt comfortable, because it's a constant like keith, she should have been an assistant to the president, working outside, answering the phones, helping coordinate. he gave this 29-year-old former
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p.r. person for ivanka or whatever her job was, it wasn't anything to do with politics or communications the job of communication director. it's one of a pivotal roles in the white house. so he set her up to fail and probably didn't even know it. coming up, the widening focus of the mueller investigation, including whether an adviser to the foreign leader who visited the white house last year has had any influence over u.s. policy. we'll talk to new york times reporter behind that story. "morning joe" is back in a moment.
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at last night's 19th annual -- >> did that story about the woman with the fish, did that win? >> guillermo toral's fantasy romance "the shape of water" picked up four honors including best director, original design and the night's big prize, best picture. >> that's where the woman was
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with the fish? >> yeah. well, these days -- >> these days. what all the kids are talking about. >> "three billboards outside ebbing, missouri" was the standout. >> that looks great. >> frances mcdormand won an oscar for best actress and sam rockwell an award for best supporting actor. gary oldman won best actor for his portrayal of winston churchill in the world war ii drama "darkest hour." >> we saw that one. >> and i love this, i want to see this movie so bad. allis allison janney won an academy award for "i tonya." >> did anybody see it? let's so go see it. i'll walk into a movie theater. history was made in writing categories "get out." jordan peele became the first african-american to win original screenplay and 89-year-old james ivory is the oldest oscar winner
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after winning adapted screenplay for "call me by your name." nice night. >> let's be old. let's be old for a second. do you remember, jean and michael, when you would watch the academy awards and it would be all movies that americans actually saw like "the sting" "the godfather." i mean, we're going way back there. >> no, we're old. >> people would actually oh, yeah, i saw four of those. i did see "one flew over the cuckoo's nest." >> a lot of these movies are not big box office movies. >> and they've double them so 10 movies for best picture but none of the actors or directors are in the movies. >> there's just not the middle ground anymore. you have movies that i take my kids to see, all "the avengers"
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movies and then you have -- >> people like me. people who wait for it to come to netflix. >> exactly. eugene robinson, thank you very much for coming on. coming up, the president doubles down on his plan for tariffs despite pushback from just about everybody. >> by the way, did you see those movies i ever talked about? any of "the godfathers"? >> no. >> "the verdict." i made you see "the verdict." that's an amazing one. >> okay. >> you never saw those other movies. >> we have time. >> "one flew over the cuckoo's nest?" >> "morning joe" is coming right back. that blows them all out of the water. hydro boost water gel from neutrogena®. with hyaluronic acid it goes beneath the surface to plump skin cells from within and lock in hydration leaving skin so supple,
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and got an estimate in 24 hours. my insurance company definitely doesn't have that... you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™ liberty mutual insurance. i announced the steel and aluminum tariffs. people are going nuts about it. i brought back the steel industry by destroying the auto industry and tanking the stock market, impressive. i said i was going to run this country like a business. that business a waffle house at 2:00 a.m. welcome back to "morning joe." with us we have heidi przybyla, we have msnbc political analyst and former chair of the republican national committee michael steele, president of the council on foreign relations,
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richard haass, and joining the conversation, political correspondent and columnist for the "washington post" karen tim tumulty and mark mazzetti, we'll get to his new reporting on the mueller investigation in just a moment. >> karen, how do you like your column? >> it's interesting. the "post" came to me with this idea and they wanted a reported column about politics. it's great, i've traveled to tennessee and texas -- >> so you report and do a column? >> so if there's a north star to all of this, it's the way david brodeur did it. his opinions didn't come from just the echo chamber here. >> that's great. that's exciting. >> well, here we go with the news now. trump administration officials were out defending the president's decision to impose new tariffs after nbc reported a lack of preparation ahead of
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thursday's announcement in which no one at the state department, treasury department, or department had been told about a new policy or given an advanced opportunity to weigh in. >> let's stop right there. >> richard haass -- >> help me out here. >> richard haass, the word came from the pentagon, came from the state department the president had known that a trade war -- forget about the economics of it, just the diplomatic side of it would have negative consequences for the united states and yet, again, no consultation. no ambassadors to talk to. no assistants in the state department. talk about first of all how abnormal this is and secondly how dangerous it is. >> well, it's both. it's abnormal and dangerous. that's why we invented after world war ii an interagency system. the whole idea is when you looked at policy you brought in
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everybody who potentially had a stake in it and you looked at all the consequences, all the potential consequences and you weighed it out. in this case you would need all your economic people and if you had them in the room they would essentially if they passed economics 101 in college they would have told you that this was going to be bad for the u.s. any on that 10 million americans are involved, at least, in export-oriented businesses. do we think those jobs will do well in a world of economic retaliation? so you would have had your economic people and national security people and they would have talked about what this would mean with south korea, with canada, with europe. and the fact that this was done, when you deal with these issues in isolation, this was really -- it goes way beyond the specifics of this decision. imagine we were going to put it with any other issue on the development, this is as
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frightening a development as we've seen in the last 14 months. >> i second that 100%. there were no prepared approved remarks for the president to give, there was no diplomatic strategy for how to alert foreign trade partners, there was no legislative strategy in place for informing congress and no agreed upon communications plan beyond an e-mail cobbled together by wilbur ross' team at the commerce department late wednesday that had not been approved by the white house. but yesterday ross and trade director peter navarro said "everything is on track." >> when the president ran against 16 other republican candidates, all 16 of those candidates didn't embrace his trade agenda, either. guess what? he beat them. there's no downstream effects here. there's only the president for national security and economic security purposes saving and defending our steel and aluminum industries. >> should we believe this is actually going to happen? >> well, i think you have to take the president at his word.
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he made campaign promises, he's pretty well proven so far he intends to keep his campaign promises. >> so this is going to happen this week for sure, the way he said it, 25%, 10%? >> whatever his final decision is is what will happen. >> meaning this isn't a done deal. >> i didn't say that. i just said what he has said he has said. if he says something different, it will be something different. i have no reason to think he's going to change. >> george w. bush accused ronald reagan of voodoo economics in 1979 and 1980. this is economic witchcraft. there's nobody in the mainstream of economic thought that thinks that way and i'm looking at peter navarro yesterday and he sounds like and he reminds me of the character of dusty in "the royal tenenbaums" who was a bellman who ended up bei--
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pretended to be a doctor and he ended up believing it but this has consequences. karen, we talked earlier about this china story, about the president praising the consolidation of xi in china and i think there's a line from the president respecting that type of leadership to a president that doesn't put people in place at the state department, doesn't put ambassadors in place across the globe because he has nobody he has to confide in or talk to. if he gets angry that hope hicks is leaving, he can just start a trade war and nobody stops him. >> well, this is sort of government by impulse. but as a result i think there's a real reason to be kept cull that there is going to be any kind of follow through on this. i think among the things the president has his eye on is the fact that there is a special congressional election in southwest pennsylvania a week from tomorrow. that's steel country.
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and the republican candidate there should be way ahead and he's not. so i think that this is also possibly a signal in one congressional race -- >> for pennsylvania. do you think this could be like the transgender ban in the military, that the president puts it out there and never follows through? >> exactly. or how many times has he said things on immigration that there hasn't been any follow through on? daca? sometimes he makes these kind of statements out there to scratch and itch. >> and following up on a story that you've written about regarding uae and the administration's connections with the uae, one of the things that i found so surprising about the transition was the fact that jared kushner just -- whether it was the uae or china or taiwan or israel or you name it, the
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saudis, jared and trump didn't go through flynn. they just made the phone calls themselves and time and again would stumable into a problem like for instance with taiwan, the president had a call with taiwan while he's about to get on the phone with taiwan, china's calling screaming saying "you can't talk to them." they had no idea. so now based on your piece, this stumbling and bumbling seems to have made its way into the mueller investigation that suggestions that investigation may be expanding. tell us about it. >> the -- you're right about the transition. it started from day one, the night after the election there were people trying to call into trump tower to get calls with the president. there's normal regular protocols for this and all of that went out the window during this transition. meetings were set up without the state department knowing, et cetera. what we reported about over the
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weekend was a possible expansion of mueller outside of what we normally think are the bounds of the mueller investigation which is russian collusion, obstruction of justice. this is a question about the role and influence of money by the uae and possibly other countries in the election, the transition, and administration. >> in what way? >> well, if you take the uae. we know that the uae is very eager to be influencing the trump administration and has been very close to the trump administration. >> we focused on a person named george nader who was in the administration in the first few months. he's an adviser to the crown prince in the uae. and there's a man named elliot broidy who was in a meeting with
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president trump last october. he has hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts with the uae and after the meeting with president trump, he sends a memo to the uae through this man george nader. so there's a lot of money involved in this. the question of how much of the money broidy is getting may be influencing the policy process. and this may just be one small part that we're seeing so what we reported is that mueller is asking people about not only the uae but other countries and how much money may have flowed through u.s. individuals during the last year. >> point of disclosure, mika and i are good friends the ambassador from the uae to the united states, that puts us in a very small select group of about 75% of official washington.
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but we've also heard that mueller is investigating the possibility of financing of jared's -- whether it's 666 or some of the other properties. are you hearing -- we heard earlier meetings with qatar, possibly dealings with saudi arabia. is mueller looking into that where jared wasn't sure if he was going to be in government or new york and it was that way for november and december of the transition. is he looking to see whether he was using these supposedly official meetings to finance 666 and some of the other properties? >> it's still unclear to us how much mueller is focused on the kushner search for cash. we know it's well known, he spanned the globe looking for financing for this albatross around his company's real estate
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empi empire, the failing 666 fifth avenue building. and he went to the qatari's and other governments to look for money and how much mueller is trying to tie those threads together is still unclear. but go back to the transition went know there were these mysterious meetings that kushner was having not only with the chinese, there's a russian ba banker, sergei gorkov, so this all seems to be related to this pool of investigation. >> we want to get to richard haass' insight but first, there's also new reporting in the "new york times" that says the state department was granted $120 million to fight russian meddling and it has spent zero. according to the report, that means none, not one of the 23 analysts dedicated to the issue actually speaks russian and a hiring freeze translates into a
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slowdown in recruiting computer experts needed to track moscow's activities the "times" says the delay is a symptom of the president's pass i ha ee's pass russian interference and secretary of state's rex tillerson's waning confidence in his department's ability to execute its mission and spend its money wisely and they haven't really hired everybody, either. >> well, they've hired hardly anybody. richard haass, do we focus on the russian part of that story or should we just focus on the fact that rex tillerson's state department has been dysfunctional for day one? >> well, it's a form of unilateral american disarmament. russia has attacked the united states, they are interfering with the american political process, we are not attacking them any way, we're not publicizing mr. putin's grand larceny and we're not doing anything we can to defend ourselves. if we did this in any other
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realm of national security there would be congressional investigations and the like. we are again allowing this to happen. it raises also i think you're right, joe, fundamental questions about the secretary of state. he may be losing or he may have lost confidence in his department, trust me, it's reciprocated. >> but richard, he never haas given his department a chance. there aren't undersecretaries. we don't have ambassadors to some of the key -- we don't have an ambassador to south korea, the most important place to put a u.s. ambassador at this stage in american history. how could he have waning confidence in the state department that he's never given a chance to be functional. >> exactly right. in the last week, what, we've lost the chief american expert on north korea, he suddenly retired. the u.s. ambassador to mexico resigned. these are not isolated cases. they wouldn't hire victor cha to
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be be ambassador to south korea because he wouldn't walk the party line. this administration inherited fair enough the most difficult daunting inbox in modern memory. they've then gone around and done things to make it more difficult but it's as if you're playing golden state and you've played your b team. this ought to make people concerned. >> i have a two-parter here. the first would be to richard how much of that is the secretary of state versus the white house slow rolling these appointments? those appointments emanate out of the administration, this is who the president wants to be the ambassador to so that there's that piece and for mark the question would be for politics, we saw the impact on the platform of the republican national committee where foreign policy took a whole different turn and the dollars that were
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involved there. how do those two pieces play out, i guess, between both of you? >> i would say there's enough blame and responsibility to go around between the white house and secretary of state but he never made appointments a condition of his job. from what i can tell as an outsider, he hasn't fought for the financial resources, he hasn't fought for the human resources. instead he's been focused on this quixotic issue of reorganizing the state department, all this at a time the world is going hell in a hand basket so there's real questions about how mr. tillerson perceives his job and he's worried about placating this white house which doesn't believe in diplomacy but the last i checked that's an important national security tool. >> the official machinery of washington, the government kind of grinds to a halt. look at the state department. there's no question there's dysfunction at the state department at the top with the appointments as you said but the interaction between the diplomatic corps, the bureaucracy, and the white
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house, it's very hard to see how policy gets made outside of a very small group of people at the white house and as you've been saying for a while, how -- it seems to be done on a whim so that's problematic. you raise what happened during the campaign, right, the republican convention, the platform changes. there's still these questions, mueller is looking at them, of why the platform changed, who changed it, what outside influences, what money mafbl involved and that's one of the things we're still trying to get to the bottom of here. >> and karen, less people in place, less process, less pushback. >> i also think there's a problem in that sort of the top talent is reluctant to go into this administration as well. and so those two things sort of feed on each other around that is dangerous as well. >> absolutely. karen tumulty, mark mazzetti, thank you. still ahead on "morning
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joe" -- >> i think you underestimate the power of the gun lobby. >> no, i tell you what. the reason i had lunch with the nra on sunday -- i called them, i said you have to come over. i said fellas, we have to do something and they have great power, i agree. they have great power over you people. they have less power over me. >> oh, really? because he said -- i think he accused pat toomey and joe manchin of being scared of the nra and when the nra got upset with him he panicked and invited them back over and now is looking like he's more scared of the nra than pat toomey. >> president trump appeared to split with the nra last wednesday but a day later they had krortedly reconciled. jeremy peters has new reporting on that but also the one area where president trump has big issues with the gun group. we'll talk about that, you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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trump administration officials are trying to mitigate the damage from the president's free-wheeling meeting with congressional leaders last week in which he embraced overhauling gun laws. according to the "new york times" jeremy peters and maggie haber m haberman, the president's staff are saying white house counselor kellyanne conway was reminding people that trump has an a plus rating from the nra because he made specific promises. conway reportedly insisted that trump understands the overlap between gun owners and those voters who supported him adding, nobody's making legislative policy in the cabinet room. jeremy peters joins us now. so he caved. what's going on? >> well, remember when there was the reality television show like display in the cabinet room before the daca deal was hammered out? >> right.
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>> and lindsey graham called it the tuesday trump versus the thursday trump. the tuesday trump is all let's cut a deal kumbaya we can get this done. then someone intervenes, in this case it was the nra reminding president trump no, you made us an awful lot of promises during the campaign. remember, there are few constituencies as important to trump or ones that he made such explicit promises to as gun owners and the national rifle association. he went as far as to say repeatedly in his remarks to them "i will never, ever, let you down." and when you're that explicit about it it's kind of hard to have any ambiguity where you stand so they reminded him look, you told us you would not do anything that would infringe on our second amendment rights. now unfortunately for anyone trying to get a gun control deal done, that's a very broad
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promise and when they reminded him of that he snapped back. >> i recall they were actually the first major lobbying group to endorse him. it wasn't just the money, it was the early support. they got out there and they put their money and their good name on him and i'm just wondering, jeremy, what does it mean when the president says that they're going do something? it was different the immigration meeting. he was way more adamant about those background checks but based on my own reporting in terms of what the nra supports, there can be -- there is no room for expansion of background checks. >> no. >> the limit is that fix nics bill which is increasing reporting requirements. >> the difference that it will come down to, there can be a tension point between trump and the nra, is over the age limit for rifles. trump said in this meeting according to the nra according to our reporting, i don't understand why you can go in and
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buy a rifle but you can't -- but you can't buy a handgun. he doesn't understand that. a lot of people don't understand that, frankly. but one of the important things here, and michael will appreciate this, trump got gun culture. he got the politics of gun culture and the grievance that's wrapped up in that. like a lot of people who supported trump, a lot of gun owners see political forces and pop culture forces out to undermine and demean and debase their way of life, disrespects them and he got that. and he played on it. and in its most extremes what a lot of people see is a leftist conspiracy out to take away those rights and trump also understands conspiracy and traffics in that very well. >> but the truth still remains that, you know, the country is now moving into a different space and a lot of the nra's own membership is moving into that space as well. so that sets up a potential conflict down the road within
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the nra over this idea of how do we expand yet continue to protect? so the question becomes as we saw dianne feinstein leap across the table because she felt a deal was right there it's like, yes, this is what i'm talking about. and the president now pulling back. where do democrats go in this discussion or do they find themselves in another immigration might mare where the tuesday trump said okay, let's do something and the thursday trump says not so fast and how do they pivot off of that? >> i think the democrats are setting themselves up for major disappointment if they think they can get any type of comprehensive deal on guns with president trump. i just don't see it happens. i don't think his -- i don't think the nra will allow it, i don't think the people who are advising him remember who your core constituency is will allow it and i think trump reverts
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right when he feels pressure. >> the timing could be perfect for the democrats. i'll tell you where they're going. they're going the streets. there will be marches later this month and the timing of this, if it implodes, and we think it will, will coalesce perfectly for the people planning these marches. >> and that puts the kind of pressure that republicans don't want to have to deal with going going into the summer and the fall. >> and here's the clarity they have. the president had this emotional televised meeting with victims of gun violence and what are the ideas that have come out of that that are coming to pass? arming teachers? like this is what this president had a lot to work with on the streets and you're right, today is the daca deadline and -- >> nothing. >> nothing. exactly. coming up, last month it was former vice president joe biden who said mitch mcconnell stopped president obama from calling out russia's election meddling. over the weekend, we heard the
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former obama white house chief of staff denis mcdonough
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blamed senate majority leader mitch mcconnell for the obama administration's response to russian meddling in the 2016 election. >> the president asked four leaders in a bipartisan meeting in the oval office to join him in asking the states to work with us on this question. it took over three weeks to get that statement worked out, it was dramatically watered down, you can ask harry reid and nancy pelosi, even the speaker -- >> and it was watered down on the insistence of mitch mcconnell? >> yes. >> and nobody else. >> yes. >> okay, do you have any understanding as to why? did he not believe the intelligence? >> i don't. i don't. >> the "new york times" reported last year that mcconnell had questioned the intelligence around election interference and agreed to a softer version of a letter that spoke to malefactors but did not specifically mention russia. in response to mcdonough's comments, a spokesman for mcconnell wrote in an e-mail
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that the obama white house asked for a statement about election security, not russia. mcconnell's team also pointed to a "washington post" op-ed written by mcdonough last summer where he called the letter "ultimately successful." >> richard haas, at the end of the day, we hear this excuse for barack obama not doing enough in 2016, pinning it on mitch mcconnell. mitch mcconnell's actions i thought were really, really inappropriate and unfortunate. at the same time, as harry. is truman said, the buck stops here. there's only one commander-in-chief, only one president of the united states and if there's a foreign power interfering in democracy and you need to get that information out to the american people you don't have to ask permission from the majority leader to do that, do you? >> short answer is no. the obama administration the obama administration should have and could have been much more
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assertive on this. it lies with the executive branch, they could have run with it. the fact that they weren't willing to and this is something vice president biden talked about is they were looking for political cover. they were worried they were going to be charged with politicizing intelligence if they put this out because it looked like something designed to help hillary clinton and to hurt donald trump and they basically balked or they blinked and they -- but the answer is yeah, they should have done it and the senate leader also ought to have gone along with it so this is shame on both sides. >> shame on both sides but again the ultimate responsibility, heidi, lies with the president of the united states and if he couldn't get mitch mcconnell to come along, if they thought this was a threat to american democracy, should the president of the united states at the time just like donald trump now should he not have come out and been assertive. >> the fact of the matter is they cannot blame this on mitch mcconnell. they were making strategic
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calculations, one, that they didn't want to feed the goal of the russians by inciting panic and putting this out there in the public realm because, two, they thought hillary was going to win anyway. and you had donald trump going around the country already complaining about a rigged election and they feared what the blowback would be if they had gone out and rung the alarm on this and hillary won trump would have taken that and run and it would have sowen massive distrust in the election. >> that's where we are today. >> so many bad calculations were made by so many people last year or in 2016 assuming that donald trump couldn't win. i remember mika and i had been in a pitched war with donald trump throughout most of the campaign. he was writing nasty tweets about us and saying i was a loser for supporting jeb bush
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and then i was a loser for supporting john kasich and mika was neurotic. we had this massive fight going the entire campaign and at the end of the campaign mark halperin and i dared to say that donald trump could win. you would have thought that we -- >> that's true. >> you would have thought that we were subversives that were calling for the overthrow of the government which takes you back to the mind-set of everybody that made so many miscalculations, including the white house. >> absolutely. everybody got caught up in the political storylines that were developing at that time and in a strange kind of way donald trump was the guy behind that. he was pushing these various narratives that changed the way people behaved and you can see now in hindsight how it impacted
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the white house. to the point where they were frozen and they had the intelligence, they had the information going back to may, june, july of 2016 and did very little as possible with it on the fear that it would be so disruptive to the process that we're now in a very disruptive process. so i think the lesson is the one richard put out there, the white house, the executive branch has to act in its official capacity when this type of intelligence is delivered to it. it has to forgo to political consequences because at the end of the day it's the national security of this country, not its politics, that matters. >> right. and jeremy, you had other republicans like tom cotton, arkansas senator that in -- i think in april of 2016 started warning the white house to act more aggressively because of meddling from russia. >> there's blame to go around on both sides here, the obama administration for not speaking
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out forcefully and the trump administration frankly for continuing to turn a blind eye to what russia is doing. in syria as we speak, last night, the white house sent out this statement condemning what the syrians and russians were doing but guess whose name wasn't on it? donald trump's. >> richard haass, we're talking about barack obama only because denis mcdonough was on "meet the press" yesterday suggesting this was all mitch mcconnell's fault. of course we're now two years in and donald trump is still doing nothing, the state department story we read a little while ago suggesting they're not using a dime to stop russian interference. it's beyond the pale what this president is doing so we now have had two and a half years of american presidents knowing that
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russia is interfering with our elections and we're taking a laissez-faire approach to it. still. >> we're being attacked by russia, we're in a cyber war with russia and we are not participating. it's unilateral disarmament. we're starting a trade war with our allies, that's where we are joe, good morning. >> on that note, jeremy peters, thank you very much for being on this morning. >> thank you, jeremy. up next, there's perhaps no foreign leader that president trump has more in common with than the prime minister of israel and today benjamin netanyahu visits the white house, one scandal-leydascandal to another. we'll preview that meeting ahead on "morning joe."
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you know what's not awesome? gig-speed internet. when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. they're telling me, mika, i have to say this -- >> apple, iphone 8 stinks, glitchy, can't send a text. anyone have that problem, let me know. president trump -- >> the x, the 10, whatever it
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is, just miserable. >> not fun. >> dpliglitchy. don't release it if it's not ready. >> maybe strip it down, make things simpler, figure out how to do it so it works and then actually sell. >> it that's enough now. >> isn't that what steve jobs would do? let's keep it simple, let ice make it work and when we sell it make sure it's easy. president trump is set to welcome israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu to the white house today and and the trip by the prime minister comes amid his legal troubles back home for his possible role in several far-reaching bribery scandals. joining us now, washington bureau chief for the forward, natan gutman, former correspondent for "ha'aretz" and the jerusalem post. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> there's serious parallels between these two leaders? >> definitely. >> go down the list. >> they're both in legal trouble. for bibi netanyahu, he's waking
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up at the blair house hearing his third top aide signed a cooperation with agreement with the police, meaning the police flipped his third aide and all these people will be against him. >> so the equivalent of a national security adviser flipping. >> exactly. >> that would never one happen. >> and there's the whole bashing of the legal system and the press that are reporting about it and the parallels are striking. netanyahu has basically attacked the israeli media for digging into reports about these bribery cases, he accused the police of being biased and he's already laying the ground for questioning the attorney general and the legal system if and when they set to charge him. >> it's a play book. >> like donald trump he has his core of supporters but it's relatively small. we had a poll last week that only 16% of americans strongly support donald trump. >> the bibi netanyahu situation
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is better but more than 50% of israelis say they think he should resign because of these legal cases he's involved in. >> how serious is this for him? >> it's more of a political than a legal issue because it's a coalition government in israel and you have two clocks ticking, one is a legal clock until he gets indicted and what happens after that but the other is political. will his party overthrow him? will his coalition overthrow him if they sense he's weak? >> is he going to be indicted? i've read some stories suggesting police often recommend charges and that justice -- >> the attorney general, right. >> the attorney general doesn't move forward. >> it happens. the cases seem strong. their recommendations to charge him on two out of four cases, two are still under investigation. i think most people think he will get indicted, the question is how severe will the charges be and can he survive them politically? if they're strong bribery cases it will be difficult to maintain
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his coalition because his partners will have to justify later on how did you sit in a government with this guy? so far he's running pretty strong. >> the council on foreign relations richard haass is with us and he has a question for you now. >> how will this affect the challenges he'll face, above all, what to do about iran and hezbollah in syria? does this make it more or less likely that prime minister netanyahu takes -- ape sums an assertive policy? >> i think it could go either way. on the one hand it could mean that netanyahu will embark on a gold move just to remind people he's still in power and enjoy what he still has which is political capital as a statesman, as a strong leader of israel. on the other hand, it means he does need a strong political base and he needs strong support from the president of the united states to do that and in order to have the strong support he
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needs a strong ally in the white house, not sure he has that right now. trump is very supportive of the netanyahu initiatives on jerusalem and stuff like that, but will he be willing to back israeli military or other action in syria? that's a wait and see. >> you mentioned the issue of jerusalem. let's talk about the israeli/palestinian quote/unquote peace process for a second. is there any signs that this israeli coalition government is in a position to endorse an offer that there would be any chance this palestinian leadership would accept? >> not at all. it doesn't seem on the table at all. i don't think we're talking about any kind of peace process at this point of time, if anything, netanyahu may be willing to go for some kind of a very mild curb on settlement building if he comes under pressure from the americans but, again that circles back to the white house. is jared kushner, the person who is entrusted with coming up with
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a new peace plan, is he in a position politically to go ahead with that? it doesn't seem possible. netanyahu's current coalition won't leave him much room to maneuver on these issues at all? >> heidi? >> that's my question. how much do we my question. how much do we know about what jared has actually done behind the scenes to bring peace to the middle east? all we can see is what the progress, what do we know about what he's actually done before we say, oh, this is really terrible that going forward he's not going to be at the center of this? >> we don't know much because everything is done in secret. the only thing we know is that there is a promise that jared kushner will come up with a plan like we've never seen before. that will be different than any other piece that we've seen for the past three decades. and what are the details? we don't know. we know the that meanwhile, at lei least, the trump administration is reaching heavily to the israeli side. >> what's the impact of making
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jerusalem the home for the u.s. embassy? obviously, israeli officials say it's a wonderful thing, the trump administration says it's a wonderful thing. but we read that this blows apart the peace process and makes it more likely that there is only a one-state solution and that one state is the state that palestinians are going to gain more and more power with through the years. >> well, the fact is there is no real peace process going on right now. the jerusalem issue could be leveraged by the trump administration to actually advance the peace process if they would go about it strategically. they could say, this is a huge thing for israel. this plays out really well with the constituency. let's give him the this gift of moving the embassy to jerusalem and get something in return. so far, it doesn't seem that they're trying to leverage it at all and therefore it's another obstacle on the peace process
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that was already in shambles even before. >> let me get to the politics behind the coalition government here. you talked about the politicaar between the trumps and netanyahu. what about the coalition government behind the prime minister, will they actually move to do something if it becomes an inflexion point for the netanyahu administration or will it be what we see here in the u.s. where you have a republican leadership that is virtually feckless when it comes to standing against what the president's policies or actions may be speaking to. >> i think that we'll see playing out in the next weeks and months. if these cases keep on developing and the news in israel basically is full of stories about netanyahu. every day, something new comes out. it will reach a point in which his partners both within his party and within his coalition
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might question the political wisdom of staying with netanyahu on board. but we're not at that point right now. to some extent, also, the fact that he is stressing his qualities as an international statesman. he's here in washington now. he was in rush are sia before. he's traveling in asia. he's telling the public, look, i'm the only leader who can lead israel and you want to think twice before you choose someone else. >> thank you so much. richard haas, thank you, as well. still ahead, new comments on the president this morning on those proposed tariffs now linking them to the renegotiation of nafta. plus, president trump praises china's president for ending presidential term limits and jokes maybe the u.s. should do the same. not everyone is laughing. we have a packed a.m. effort ahead. here's the story of green mountain coffee roasters
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i could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody and i wouldn't lose any voters, okay.? >> it was said as a joke. obviously, it's a joke. russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> he was joking at the time. >> you're going to get the votes? he better get them. otherwise, i'll say, tom, you're fired. >> what that statement was, one,
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i think it was a humerus comment that the president made. >> when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you see them thrown in rough. i said please don't be too nice. >> i believe he was making a joke at the time. >> firing a shot at secretary of state rex tillerson, i guess we'll compare iq tests and we'll see who wins. >> he made a joke. maybe you guys should get a sense of humor and try it sometime. >> un-american. un-american. somebody says treasonous. yeah win guess why not. >> the president was clearly joking with his comments. >> no. now the president has a new punch line, praising china's president. he told donors at mar-a-lago, he's now president for life. president for life. no. he's great. and look, he was able to do that. i think it's great. maybe we'll have to give that a
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shot some day. the room reportedly responded with amraupplause and laughter. >> the thing is, mika, he has praised this president for a consolidation of power in china over the past six months. he's praised consolidation of power in turkey. >> he's praised putin. >> he's praised putin. >> for being powerful. >> and congratulated putin on doing so well there. and spoke admiringly of him killing journalists and, of course, due ar take in the philippines, he did the same thing, too. the suggestion that this is a joke that he is praising consolidation of power, that's just a line. if sarah huckabee sanders wants to go out and say it's a joke and you should get a sense of humor, i don't know who she thinks is that stupid, but it's
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really obvious that he's not joking in these situations. and, again, he has a body of work, ruth marcus with "the washington post," a body of work where he's praised one autoaccuraautocrat across the globe after another and it's not been in a setting that would suggest that the he was joking. >> if he had only said president for life sounds pretty good to me and it was in the context of being very clear that he's not support authoritarian leaders, that he's not attracted to thor authoritarian leaders, that that is not democratic and is not healthy for the world to have authoritarian leaders like that, perhaps we could have allowed a little bit of a self-depp indicating joke. not in the context that this president said it. >> matt miller is with us. also, matt, if he hadn't time and time again lashed out
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against democratic institutions that check the president's power, barring stalin, calling the press the enemy of the people or having steven miller going on a sunday talk show saying the president's authority is not to be questioned, if he hadn't questioned federal judges that ruled against him, republican federal judges that ruled on against him suggesting that they didn't have the authority, perhaps then the comments like this would just pass by. but the man is clearly not joking. even if people in the room were laughing nervously, this is a man who, even his allies on capitol hill will admit he does not have respect for constitutional norms because he does not understand constitutional norms. >> that's right. sometimes, look, maybe he was joking a little bit, but sometimes jokes reveal a real truth. and the truth about his view of the presidency, of the constitution, of the rule of law is that he is first and foremost above all of those. he has no respect for the other
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branches of government, for judges, as you point out, for even people inside his own executive branch that try to check his power. and it's not just that he's -- you know, people will often say he doesn't understand government, he doesn't understand these institutions of government, he doesn't understand how it's supposed to work. he's hostile to it. he chafes against anything that tries to constraight his power and concentrate his ability to do what he wants to do regardless of norms, regardless of rules. >> we also have rick tyler and former chairman of the national committee michael steele. there aren't a lot of time that i retweet a ted cruz tweet and suggest it was one of the best tweets of the night, but last night was one of those when people started trying to promote brooklyn barbecue. did you see this? ted cruz just wrote, bless their hearts. >> which as a southerner, you
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know what that means. >> exactly. >> i got it. >> very funny stuff. i'm from new jersey and even i got it. >> seriously. then memphis jumped in on it, too. anyway, so what is your take on the president, whether he's praising china's leader for consolidating power or turkey's leader for consolidating power, the philippines lead her for going out and bragging about participating in an extra judicial killings, going out and taking a pistol and shooting drug dealers without any trial? >> well, as you remember, joe, and i remember when ronald reagan sent it to an open mike with the bombing begins in five minutes, right? and that was a joke. although it rattled -- i think it rattled the soviet union and he was allowed to get away with that joke. but trump, in a sense, is not because, for instance, the other day when he had all of his -- the congressional leaders around the table talking about the nra and gun control, he talked about
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due process, you know, take the guns first, due process later. people may not agree with me on the second amendment, but taking away due process first would be, you know, that's what duterte's philippines look like. that's what putin's russia looks like. so you have to worry about these things. >> and, again, he said that not because it was a mistake, but because that's his instinct. >> well, it could be -- >> no due -- no, no, he says take the guns first and then we will give them due process. it doesn't work that way in america. >> no. it's really important because due process is foundational to our freedom. if you take away due process, then the whole system collapses. now, you know, trump can be funny, but the problem is, when he's consistently inconsistent and people don't know where his core beliefs are, where his guiding principals are for governing, the world looks at that. the world has always looked to
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america as a model of how a free people can govern themselves and its president is the example of their leader. and i think when you continually say these things praising dictators, praising authoritarian power, it's looking like you wish you had that, it can be very concerning. and this started, mika, obviously with us on -- in december of 2015 when we had the president on and we're asking him if he was going to be critical of vladimir putin. and he said, well, vladimir putin is a stronger leader than barack obama. he gets things done. but he also assassinates political rivals, he assassinates journalists that disagree with him. does that not cause you problems? he's a strong leader. >> we murder people, too. >> talking about american soldiers in iraq. >> you know -- >> and, again, equating vladimir putin, shooting a journalist that writes something about hill that he doesn't like with our american troops going to iraq and fighting for this country. >> there was so much revealed in
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the run up to the election on our show about the way he thinks. and you just wonder why it didn't translate. because you can see us in realtime dumb struck at his answers. like, can you believe he's saying this? this is disturbing. president trump, by the way, is tweeting this morning about his unexpected decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum. we have large trade deficits with mexico and canada. nafta, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for usa. massive relocation of companies and jobs. tariffs on steel and aluminum will only come off if new and fair nafta agreement is signed. also, canada must treat our farmers much better. highly restrictive. mexico must do more on stopping drugs from pouring into the u.s. they have not done what needs to be done. millions of people addicted and
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dieing. just a short time ago, he added, to protect our country, we must protect american steel. #americafirst. meanwhile, within the white house, the fault line over tariffs has pitted commerce secretary wilbur ross and director of trade and manufacturing policy peter navaro in favor of imposing new tariffs and the direct her of the national economic council cohn and treasury secretary steve mnuchin opposing them. >> and that's two on two. but michael steele, there is no question that 98% of economists believe that gary cohn and steve mnuchin are right and that the positions of navaro and wilbur rosslty to economic witchcraft. there is no even split here. almost everybody is on the side
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of cohn and mnu ychin. are they not? >> i think that's right. what you're seeing is a lot of these players coming after the fact to create a policy around an emotional outburst by the president on trade and tariffs. that's the reality here. so you have these folks going out on the talk shows over the weekend trying to formulate a policy holding up a can of coke and saying, see, this is only, what, three cents worth of alum newly. a but people are going, that's my job. that's much broader than a can of on coke. and i think you're starting to see that with respect to how our allies are respond, with their potential position of tariffs. and i kind of look at this arc of conversation and it struck me while you guys were just talking about the president's dictatorial aspirations that in
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many respects, donald trump is what many feared barack obama would be. i remember a lot of conversations about the kindses of behaviors they thought obama would exhibit and the kinds of policies they thought obama would exhibit now being played out by this conversation. and the irony there is too rich to let go. and you now see this, again, as an example in the tariff policy which is absolutely mindless. >> this is wilbur ross talking about the can. take a look. >> this is a can of campbell's soup. in the can of campbell's soup, there's about 2.6 cents, 2..6 pennies worth of steel. here is a can of coca-cola. coca-cola has 3 cents worth of aluminum in it. it doesn't mean anything. so all this hysteria is a lot to do about nothing.
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>> missing the point. >> by the way, campbell's soup disagreed saying in a statement friday, any new broad based tariffs on imported template steel, an insufficient amount of which is produced in the u.s. will -- >> what the heck was going on there? >> well, i don't know, but it's interesting. a kul of weeks ago, we all heard stories donald trump was ready to get wilbur ross out because he was falling asleep in meetings. the quote in the white house was wilbur is good until about 11:00 a.m. >> was that a morning show? i don't know. >> i don't know what it was. but, ruth, now the president is talking about nafta. and you just wonder what even political world he's living in. joni ernst came out in strong support of nafta saying yes, it can be tweaked, but it provides
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important jobs to the people in the state of iowa. iowa. iowa is rather important. >> you look at what he's doing. these steel tariffs and these aluminum tariffs are going to work working class voters in wisconsin, in michigan, in illinois, in indiana, in ohio and in pennsylvania. >> so one thing that i think we've learned about the president, and we learned it before he became president, is that once an idea gets into his head, it is very difficult to dislodge it. >> and some conservatives have been going out saying, oh, i could have never seen this coming. >> really? >> only because you weren't paying attention. >> talking like this since the early 1980s. >> and in particular, on trade. and it feeds into his world view and kind of personal view that he is being taken advantage of and we are being taken advantage
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of as a country. you can explain economics to him all you want, but once that idea is lodged, it's essentially impossible to get rid of it. >> matt, let's move towards expansion of the mueller investigation. mueller did something that most prosecutors would do at the beginning of the process and that is send out a wide sweep for any communications between the relevant parties. but he's done that now. again, while in most criminal cases it would be or most investigations, even similar cases would be the first order of business, it still is fairley dramatic, demanding all of these documents from the critical time in the trump campaign. >> yeah. i think what we've seen over the last week is a sign that bob mueller is not going anywhere anytime soon. i thought the most interesting piece of news was this story in the "new york times" over the weekend that he is now looking at business dealings between
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kushner and the kushner companies of the government and qatar, potentially, and business dealings with the uae and whether they influenced official actions. what that says to me, the most important thing about that story that wasn't mentioned is russia. that says bob mueller has been able to get the permission of the attorney general to lead into a different area. he found potential wrongdoing. and the thing that worries me the most to tie it back together with the steel tariff decision is you see the president's decision on steel coming at a time when the investigation is getting rougher for him. and he made this decision, he short circuited the entire policy making process inside the government and lashed out. we're nowhere near the end. this isn't even the tough time for the president yet. it makes me wonder what happened if the walls start to close in. >> it makes me wonder why he
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would want to be president for life. >> we're now getting into the serious part of this investigation because, you know, rick, any suggestion that mueller can't look into donald trump's finances is ridiculous because we are all asking the same question. americans are asking the same question. that is what does vladimir putin have on donald trump? it's a question we've been asking since december. >> he's got something. >> since december of 2015. we've been asking that question. and the only way you find that out is you look into his finances and you look into his business dealings and you see maybe it goes through cypress where wilber ross had a bank. maybe it goes other places. but you have to track that down before you know where there was collusion or whether donald trump is paying back vladimir puttin for a favor received in
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the past.in for a favor receive the past. >> it's very clear that russia was interfering in the election. you can argue to a degree it affected the election. but that has to be stopped and there's been no effort to do that. look, on the steel tariffs, i think you get 50/50 chance this goes through as a policy, just like transgender in the military. he just threw it out there. and it's not the one cent on the coke can, right, that's the argument. it is the retaliatory tariffs from other countries. so canada has already announced that they're ready to put a tariff on american wife. american wine is a huge industry. they drink a lot of american wine. that's what causes the problem. it's all the down scale things. not only that, joe, if they were to build new steel plants in america, which i'm all for, most of them would be automated. they wouldn't need the jobs they
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had before. >> it's not going to be pittsburgh or birmingham 1955. >> won't be paddy wagons, either. >> it is remarkable that donald trump is trying to recreate a mining industry as it existed in 1898 and he's trying to create -- recreate a steel industry that existed as it did in 1952. it's just not going to happen. >> his mind isn't totally in the present. you know, i'm thinking about his reference to his attorney general as mr. mcgoo. some of us around this table remember mr. mcgoo. >> what about that clip we showed when he said police, when you threw them in a paddy wagon. you threw al capone in a paddy wagon. >> ruth marcus, thank you very much. still ahead on "morning joe," when it comes to the russia probe, few things are more discussed yet less understood than the so-called
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steele dossier. there is a sweeping new piece examining that controversial document and she joins us with new reporting next on "morning joe." this year, we're taking it up a notch. so in this commercial we see two travelers at a comfort inn with a glow around them, so people watching will be like, "wow, maybe i'll glow too if i book direct at choicehotels.com". who glows? just say, badda book. badda boom. nobody glows. he gets it. always the lowest price, guaranteed. book now at choicehotels.com the markets change... at t. rowe price... our disciplined approach remains. global markets may be uncertain... but you can feel confident in our investment experience around the world. call us or your advisor... t. rowe price. invest with confidence. nahelps protect eyes fromue damaging blue light, filtering it out to help you continue enjoying your screens. or... you could just put your phones down
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to protect our country. the question is: why is he still president?
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joining us now, the author and staff writer for the new yorker, jane mayer. her new piece is a deep dive into the dossier compiled by christopher steele on president donald trump's ties with russia. in the piece, jane writes in part this, in conversations with friends, christopher steele said he hoped that in five years he'd look back and laugh at the whole experience. but he tended towards pessimism. in matter how the drama turned out, i will take this to my grave. he often predicted. a long time friend of steele's pointed out to me that steele was in a singularly unenviable
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predictable. the dossier had infuriated both vladimir putin and donald trump by divulging allegedly corrupt dealings between them. you've got olicarchs running both super powers and inevitably, they both hate the same guy. >> his life is sort of a mess right now thanks to american politics, really. one of the things that surprised me, i was trying to figure out, so did he tell the truth or is he a part of a conspiracy to work with hillary clinton to bring trump down. the truth, he's really kind of a wills blower who totally believed what he was saying and he kept trying to get people -- he was saying, the russians are coming. the russians are coming. anden cob tear to the conspears issy theories, mostly no one listened, particularly -- i mean, he went to the fbi. they kind of dragged their feet. he went to the state department. >> so on let's stop there. he went to the fbi. and, actually, was frustrated
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because the fbi kept putting it on the back burner. why didn't the fbi move on this faster regarding the russian part of it? >> i have to say, having been one of the reporters backgrounded by him, when steele did finally meet with reporters very late in the game, it was so hard to believe there was a russian conspiracy or that this story could be true. and it was also -- it also was very complicated. there's a lot of kremlinology. it took -- there was a big learning curve in this country. and the thing is, he's a russian expert. before he wrote that dossier, he was written a big study of other russian meddling in other elections. he was very aware of the possibility of what could happen. >> and what might be coming our way. >> his work has been he completely politicized.
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i'm curious, how does he feel about this now having done what i assume he thought was a service to the united states in trying to reveal what he knew about donald trump and connections to russians? how does he feel about now being accused of being a criminal by politicians here? >> the thing is, i did the first interview with anybody close to him, his partner, because steele is not allowed to talk. but the partner explained what he thinks which is, you know, it's been shocking to him. it's completely -- he feels he has tried to be a loyal ally to the united states for 30 years. first working with mi-6, sharing intelligence. he did backgrounders for michael hayden. he did a memo that was given on russia to directly to obama. and he feels that the western alliance is incredibly important and he tried to warn them. and he ends up being called a criminal. >> wow.
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>> it's in credible. >> and in the meantime, since he first started talking about this, so much of what he suggested happened has happened. >> isn't it true? >> and it's piece by piece by piece, it's falling into place. >> and it's not just we who feel this, but the intelligence saying it. so there are three top form her intelligence people in this piece on the record saying so much of it is looking stronger and truer by the day. and the other thing that is in here is the first -- there's a scene where obama is briefed on this and comey, for the first time, is revealed to say that this man is someone who we consider reliable, we know his sources and subsources. we think they're reliable. >> wow. >> and his findings are consistent with what we see. >> which then -- >> so he worked for british intelligence and now he's in this partisan game because the steel dossier was used by the clinton administration. in your assessment, is he paul
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revere or is he benedict arnold, if he were an american? >> if he were an american, i would say much closer to paul revere. but the difference is instead of riding out on his horse and scream onning in public, he was working through channels. he's a spy. he was trying to do the right thing, worked quietly with the fbi at first, quietly with the state department. and they kept putting it in safes and not moving on it. >> and you said he was so aware of the implications, of what could happen. did he, on the lurid part of the dossier, the sexual allegations, he was hesitant. >> well, his partner said to him, dough really want to tell the country this? this is going to be a problem if we go out and say that the president is involved, engaged in this kind of sexual activity. but he's such a straight arrow, his friends say, that he said, we can't cherry pick the
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intelligence. >> right. >> the information is the information. it would distort it if you kept it out. keep it in. and, thus, we have that episode. >> and, again, we -- there's absolutely no verification of all of that, though there have been other stories leading in a certain direction over the past couple months. i have a question. that i've never really figured out exactly whose idea was it to first start this, who paid for it? you know, you had breaking news six months ago that conservative website, the washington i think free beacon had asked him to investigate some things about trump. and then we had heard that supporters of marco rubio had paid money for him to investigate things about trump. i don't think he was ever tied to marco specifically, but some people that had given marco
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money during the primary. then we heard during the election it was hillary clinton's campaign that was funding this. what is the story? >> it starts with the free beacon which is largely controlled and owned by paul singer, a new york -- who doesn't like -- he's a conservative, he's a republican, but he didn't like trump. and he was hoping to find dirt that would take down trump from the right, from the republican side. >> so that's where the dossier began. >> actually, it's not. it's where the investigation began. but it was only when hillary came on that the firm that was doing that investigation, fusion gps, then hired -- then they hired steele. but he did not know he was working for the hillary campaign for a couple months. he figured. he's not an idiot. he figured he was working for democrats trying to take down trump, but he didn't know for sure. but he did tell the fbi right away, i think this is probably
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political. this is political -- my client is probably political, he said. but he wasn't going to change it -- it was so not in his interest to slant it because he's in business trying to sell the excellence of his reporting, his sources. >> wow. >> and if it were slanted, and if he were making up facts, he wouldn't have gone to the federal bureau of investigations saying, i've got this information for you. >> that's just what the intelligence community people i interviewed said. they were very impressed. they thought he had to have believed it himself or he wouldn't have subjected it to the fbi. >> that's a good way to get in trouble. >> right. it's a good way to get in trouble. >> if you're not telling the fbi truth, that there are several former trump administration officials -- >> you would never have that and go to the fbi. >> because you're asking for trouble. lying to the fbi at any time. >> right. so his firm had gone to the fbi -- he had worked with the
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fbi on a number of investigations in the past and his firm had gone to german authorities when they thought -- the they're former intelligence officers. they were trying to tip off america. >> and explain again, one more time really quickly -- i missed it -- why didn't the fbi take him very serious lit at first? >> i don't know. there are still a lot of unanswered questions. you know who i think is going to figure out the bottom line on all of this is the special counsel robert mueller. because he can subpoena records, he can get bank records and travel records and that will be the final verdict, i think. >> the new yorker's jane mayer, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> great to be here. >> i understand, jane, that you, as well as mika both, have similar ladies with your chickens. >> are we chick ladies? >> we have birds. but i said this morning when i heard you talking about chickens, i said to my husband, maybe chickens. >> you should get a hen or two or five.
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>> that would be so nice. >> or 13. still ahead this hour in texas, early primary voting is up 102% for democrats. for republicans, it's just a fraction of that. we'll go live to that state's cat capital for what those numbers mean for tomorrow's election and the november midterms. keep it right here on "morning joe."
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i am a television sxern personality and i'm here to talk about the opoid crisis and how it affected my family. my son went to the university of colorado. he had a fantastic freshman year. the first week into his sophomore year, eric chase died of an opioid overdose. we never saw it coming. we never thought we would get that call. every parent doesn't want it, but we got it.
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sorry. >> that was part of the message played ahead of last thursday's opioid summit. eric boiling joins us now. he's been meeting with the president and the white house to sound the alarm on america's opioid crisis. also with us, dr. dave campbell, founder of the newsletter "thrive." what we're learning is that this is touching everyone. my daughter lost two friends in the past six months to this. >> you know, my son was -- and i told you this in our conversations on the phone after this terrible tragedy happened. when my son was in college at the university of alabama, he lost four or five friends in the fraternity system there. and i recall asking at the time, what the hell is happening? >> well, because that was at the beginning of this process.
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and time and time again, it happened to kids you would never expect it to happen to. >> boy, joe, you're touching on so, so many issues in that one comment. by the way, thank you for bringing awareness to this because you guys have been front and center on it and it's really important to talk about it. one of the things that you talk about what's happening. well, opioids have become so in abundance in america. we represent -- the united states represents 5% of the world pop ligz. we consume 90% of the opioids in the country. >> in the world. >> in the world. i'm sorry. 90% of all opioids in the world are consumed in the united states. we're 5% of the pop po lagz. president trump, i went to the opioid summit. he's hitting on a lot of the topics that matter to solving this crisis. it's the supply side. it's closing the boarders, it's talking to the chinese. i spoke to the state department deputy secretary at that opioid summit and i asked him, what are you doing with china?
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the fentanyl that killed my son, one pill, came over mere from china. what are you doing? and he said we're working with the chinese government to close up these fentanyl labs, the meth labs of the 80s and 90s. this is a u.s. penny. it's about three grams. there's in the u.s. penny three grams. two milligrams of fentanyl can kill a human being. so you can kill a whole room full of people with the amount of weight that's in one penny. >> dr. dave, that's what we've been talking about, you and me, about what's happening now with so many more people dieing that it used to be that kids would take pills from their parents home and take them off to school and make mistakes and one mistake could kill them. but now the margin of error is so, so much smaller because somebody like eric chase takes one pill and this happens time and again now with fentanyl.
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there is somebody that has put too much fentanyl in it and it kills them. >> we've gotten here over the last 30 years. and as we have noticed an increasing number of prescriptions, five times more opioid prescriptions over the last 30 years than before. >> right. >> five times more opioid overdose deaths in 30 years than before. it is not a coincidence. and more recently, as we as physicians have begun for a variety of reasons scaling back the amount of opioid prescribing, we've squeezed down the availability of the united states-based illicitly moved around drug thes. and in 2016, there were almost 200,000 new heroine users in the united states, which is an astounding figure. and today -- this year in 2018, heroine users are at a dramatically increased risk as
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are young kids, youth, young adults taking pills -- laced with fentanyl that comes from china, that comes from other places. >> can i just jump in on this? last time we were here, we talked about this. somebody said, can you come to cpac and talk. he put me on the main stage. over the next two days, i walked the halls of cpac, did some interviews, and i was stunned, blown away by the sheer number of young people who care about this. they would come up, they would talk, they would say, i lost two of my best friends or i'm worried about losing my sister. it is an issue that young people really, really care about. people my age are like, okay, yeah, it's a problem, it's an epidemic, let's talk about it. but it is near and dear to their heart and they really, really care about it. >> do you think this white house will act? and what actual tangible steps are they taking?
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>> this opioid summit is important because they rolled out what their plan is going to be. the president spoke. melania spoke. but they've had nine separate cabinet secretaries with the exception of rex tillerson who is away, he sent his deputy secretary. they're combatting it from both the supply side that we're talking about but also the demand side. the awareness side, i think they can tb to do more. i think we can spend a little bit more talking about getting the message out to young people that you take a pill, it might be the last thing you do. you might not wake up tomorrow morning. people need to have more access to beds. i'm a firm believer that you don't incarcerate a user of drugs. you help them figure it out. we need to provide a lot more funding and assistance to people who need help and the awareness side and the recovery side. >> yeah. and, dave, for some parents that are home watching this and
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essential -- and thank you so much for being here because obviously it's extraordinary painful to you and it's what every parent dreads, a phone call. give us the big take away from that. what do parents need to do -- >> it's a conversation. >> -- knowing that it's just -- your child could be one pill away from dieing. >> the first thing that parents should do today is to go into their medicine cabinet and remove unused medications, particularly pain pills, and take them back to the pharmacy to be discarded. one of the driving forces for some of the early recreational use of opioid pain pills comes from medicine thats was found in the house. and president trump's commission is doing a good job of that. everybody can do that today. take your medicine back to the pharmacy and have them dispose of it. they'll gladly do that.
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beyond that, there are lots of other steps to take. >> there's a huge one. i can't tell you how many people have come to my twitter page and said i had the soccer captain as a son or a daughter, but they're dead now. not my kid syndrome is dangerous and deadly. it can be your kid. and it's getting younger and younger. we're seeing 13, 12-year-olds being exposed to opioids. having that conversation with your kid could be the next -- >> and you saw a change in had behavior. keep your eyes open. you don't notice what you're noticing sometimes. >> you look for change in behavior, change in friends, change in spending habits. if you have a dramatic personality change quickly, get involved and find out what's going on. because it is an issue. >> thank you for coming. thank you. appreciate you doing this and please give our love to adrian. thank you so much. >> dr. campbell, thank you, as well. still ahead, the battle for congress kicks off in texas and democrats are trying to turn the
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lone star state into a battleground state. a live report from austin, next. i'm eric bowling. i'm here to talk about the opioid crisis and how it affected my family. my son was a very, very social high schooler. he went to the university of colorado. he had a fantastic freshman year. the first week into his sophomore year, eric chase died of an opioid overdose. we never saw it coming. never thought we would get that call. every parent doesn't want it. but we got it. sorry.
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welcome back to "morning joe." a food block asked over the weekend, why is brooklyn bark cue taking over the world? people from st. louis to north carolina answered, it isn't.
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senator ted cruz put it simply, quote, bless your hearts. joining us live now from austin, texas, msnbc correspondent vaughn hilliard who has been reporting on toll's primaries in between his brisket and rib eyes. >> we have about 48 hours left until this primary. really, most of these races are going to go to runoffs. but what it's telling is the early ballots have been turned in. friday was the last day for people to show up to the polls. democrats based off the 2014 midterms doubled the number of people that turned in early ballots compared to republicans with just a 16% increase to note. you have the democrat, the suede 45-year-old looking to take on ted cruz. but at the same time, remember, in 2014, wendy davis, she was running for governor against
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greg abbott. she was that progressive people we were excited about thinking democrats could turn texas blue. she lost that race by 20%. what we're seeing is the congressional races where texas. where hillary clinton won been and in those races, there's multiple democrats squaring off. solid candidates with strong credentials. there's multiple democrats. a former foreign intelligence officer in the air force. there's a former doj prosecutor. they're all running in that same race looking to take on will heard. if you're democrats, it should also be taken into account, the last time the democrat was elected statewide office was 1994 for land commissioner. vice president pence has been traveling around the country, including texas two weeks ago, and trying to ultimately kind of gather that support as well as
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money for those republicans. >> i'm glad you brought up some past democratic failures that a lot of people in the northeast suggest is going to change texas politics. kind of reminded me of what they said about pennsylvania for years. i always called it fool's gold. they finally won. are there many texas insiders who believe democrats are really going to make that move any time soon and start winning statewide again? >> i was talking with a few on saturday night and they were saying ultimately come november that they're going to, they believe results are going to be the exact same we've heard. back in 2014, back in 2016. that until those numbers actually change, there's not going to be much. because of a discrepancy between the number of republican voters and democrats. not only are they going to have to have that strong democratic turnout, but like you saw in alabama. and ted cruz isn't a roy moore
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type of candidate. that's why work is going into a lot of these places democrats haven't gone before. because he knows he needs to shore up some more moderate conservative voters. it's a tall task. it's something we heard in arizona. where there's been this long talk -- there's been the candidate who ran against flake in 2012. that wasn't enough to change the tide. it's a question of come here in november of 2018. all the pieces have to line up perfectly. >> all right, thank you very much. we'll be watching. and "morning joe" is coming back in three minutes. for the first time. trying something new can be exciting. empowering. downright exhilarating. see for yourself why chevrolet is the most awarded and fastest growing brand, the last four years overall. switch into a new chevy now. current qualified competitive owners and lessees can get this 2018 chevy equinox
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we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ i announced the tariffs there week. people are going nuts about it. i brought back the steel industry by destroying the car industry. impressive. both sides hated it. i don't care. i said i was going to run this country like a business. that business is a waffle house at 2:00 a.m. >> alex baldwin as the president. >> those three seats in texas may not flip in this election but make no mistake, the political topography in this country is changing. this doesn't get covered much because hillary clinton lost but she came closer in texas than she did in iowa. a lot of these districts we're looking at have the same
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characteristics as suburban districts outside minneapolis. >> we think in the past, rick, i remember seeing maybe a month or two ago donald trump's approval ratings down in the 30s in texas and was shocked. >> yes, the problem the republicans have this cycle is you have the rank and file republicans who trump sort of criticized and they're, like, not showing up for the party. trump supporters are supportive of the president but they're not going to show up for anybody else. we saw that in alabama. so watch these special elections and these primaries and look at turnout and that's an indicator of who's going to show up. because usually these enthusiasm rankings hold for the cycle. >> they really do. i remember back in 2008 looking at the extraordinary democratic turnout in 2008 and all of the primaries, the democrats were well ahead of republicans, and sure enough, that's exactly what happened in the fall. when you see in texas this much of a difference in turnout, that
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shows an excitement. may not translate to victories, but it will elsewhere. >> it does speak to the leave of excitement. right now, that energy rests with the democrats. there's no doubt about that. this is in so many respects a lot like 2006. when i was on the ballot in 2006 and remember kind of pushing against that scarlet letter, the "r" at the time. it's now back in play for the democrats and a bigger emphasis on it this time. they have the advantage. the question politically for the rnc is how do you develop that ground game to make sure your base, to rick's point, is not just focused on the president but those candidates that are also going to be on the ballot in his name. >> mika, final thoughts? >> big opportunity for democrats. i think we watch the marches that are coming up because i think we see a lot of that happening in the streets of america as the president breaks promise after promise on guns and daca and you see racism and bigotry and misogyny sweeping
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through this presidency. at so many point, democrats have to take hold of the message. >> they really do. they have to have a unifying message. they can start with the economy. donald trump promised he was going to help working class voters in places like pennsylvania '18 where they're going to have a special election at the end of this month. but you look at the tax bill, it was for the richest of americans. >> people are going to start feeling this. >> again, one of the trump-backed polls show a majority of americans supported pelosi's belief that the rich got the taxes and the rest got the crumbs. you look at the tariffs. that is a trump tax on working class voters when they go to walmart, when they go to their grocery store. everything is going to cost that much. it may not mean a lot tough wilbur ross, because he's a billionaire many times over, but it's a tax on working class americans. that message needs to get out in pennsylvania and across america. then you look at health care. people's health care is in
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danger now because this president wants to overturn obamacare but he and the republican party haven't put anything in place that will help working class americans have affordable safe health care for themselves and their children. >> and senator jeff flake, by the way, will be among our guests on set here in washington tomorrow. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks so much, mika. thanks, joe. this morn, we got a lot to hit. starting with threatening a trade war. the president tweeting at mxco and canada. using a proposed tariff on aluminum and steel to get his way on nafta. while the world is waiting and watching to see if the president will change his mind. >> well, i think you have to take the president at his word. he's pretty well proven so far he intends to keep his campaign promises. >> even members of his own

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