tv Morning Joe MSNBC March 14, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT
slight edge over republican rick saccone. >> rex and i have been talking about this for a long time. we -- we got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things. >> oh, it's not even close to the end. >> angry over hope hicks leaving? new tariffs, announce them immediately. do you want stormy daniels off the front page? >> who doesn't? >> right. so agree to a meeting with the north korean dictator, desperate to get people to stop talking about the special election which should have easily gone to the republicans now being amended on your presidency, fire the secretary of state. right? >> that sums it up willie, doesn't it? >> i love the old movie. >> you know, he won an academy award. >> again? >> first repeat, best actor.
>> no, he didn't. >> i was that fish that the lady had sex with. >> oh my god. welcome to morning joe. >> do you think i'm going to watch that? what it's like -- i don't want people telling me that i need to watch that. >> i think it was a love story. it wasn't just about the sex, joe. >> you could have fooled me. >> welcome -- to morning joe. >> it's wednesday, march 14th. >> we have a lot of serious news to talk about. >> i wish we could retake back the first minute. with us we have our political reporter. >> she's great. isn't she great? >> i had nothing on that first segment. >> it's better that way. >> woashington post editor is with us. >> who really does regret being here. thank you for being here. >> not at all. >> and john mechum.
so just how chaotic was yesterday? let me help -- >> let john talk. john, you've won a pulitzer prize. no, no. it's lent and i want to practice discipline and that's to try to keep mika awake. >> let's work on it. >> but john tyler once said -- >> this is very important. >> i just fell asleep. okay. >> here we go. >> let me give you the list and you can give us the perspective. first president trump fires his secretary of state on twitter. then -- let's just stop right there for a moment and pause. then he fires one of rex tillerson's top staffers who called the white house story into question. after that we learned that one of the president's closest aides who is under investigation for serious financial crimes was escorted off the white house grounds but he quickly landed a new gig with the president's
re-election campaign. >> kind of like a halfway house. >> okay. and then -- and the news we just reported moments ago isn't going to give the white house much of a lift this morning. a democrat is now the apparent winner of that special election in pennsylvania where republicans have held power for 15 years. >> steve has been up all night following the pennsylvania special congressional election and steve, what a shock. i mean, this is a district republicans won by 36 points in 2010. won by 28 points in 2012. unopposed in '14 and 16 a. this is as deep red as it gets. won by 20 points just 18 months ago but you have some pretty surprising news. >> yeah, we are now declaring conor lamb the democrat the apparent winner in the 18th district of pennsylvania. we can get into that wording in just a second, exactly why it's put that way but basically what you're looking at here is a 641
vote margin currently for lamb district wide and the reason he's just been declared the apparent winner in the last few minutes by nbc news has to do with this big county right here. washington county. this is a republican county. traditionally we waited and waited and waited and waited all night to get the absentee ballo ballots. we finally did and what you actually saw was that conor lamb won the the absentee ballot count in this district. that continued to trend. we've been seeing the absentees favoring lamb. it was saccone's sort of last hope in this thing. maybe get a big number in the absentees maybe he could have cut into lamb's lead. what we're down here and so far the saccone camp they have not conceded as of this moment. why we start getting into this apparent winner declaration is today still they will count the absentee ballots in green county. there's going to be about 200 absentee ballots here.
you'd expect saccone would probably win these but maybe only slightly and again, based on what we saw here could be lamb and then beyond that we'll have military votes, i don't know, maybe about 75 of those. those are probably favor saccone but it's not that many and provisional ballots, low hundreds we're expecting here. maybe a different story the rest of the district, but just not a lot of space there to make up 641, you know, lamb really -- excuse me, saccone really needed to chop that down to you know, get as close to zero as possible with those absentees in washington. we got the word, they counted them and it got worse for saccone. >> wow. okay. so joe, can republicans spin this? >> no. there's no -- there's no spinning of this. again, you look at the turnout, republicans turn out was depressed. it was far below what it's been in the past and you have the
democrats once again not quite as revved up as they may have been in alabama and virginia as far as turnout goes, but still enough. i think though, really heidi, one of the big takeaways is that that republican message that we can do tax cuts and that's going to be enough to carry us throughout 2018 really was short sided. in fact, again, in pennsylvania '18 in the deepest of red districts they didn't even talk about the tax cuts by the end of the campaign. they had to resort to the old cultural issues which really is a sign of desperation. >> joe, amazing republicans sunk in almost $12 million in spending into this race. they thought that they could sell this tax cut message and by the end, like you said, they were flailing all over the place on immigration, conor lamb's too soft on crime, and they even went after him on guns promoting
his pro gun stance as if they were some kind of a far left group to try and tear him down and so this is ominous and i do think that it will reverberate in many other races and here's why. if you drill into the numbers a little bit, what we saw here were twin forces. conor lamb couldn't just pull this out by having anti trump forever alone in allegheny county. he got that but what else did he get? he got those blue collar working class areas to flip over to him, many of these people who voted for trump just a year ago moving over to vote for the democrat. that is a very serious sign in other districts. this district should not have been anywhere competitive. >> and there's no spinning this, joe. the white house spin last night was the polls early -- the recent polls said it was 4, 5 or 6 points for conor lamb. the president pulled him closer. well, the reason that gap closed from 16 months ago to plus 20 from trump arguably is because
of donald trump and what he's done over those six months -- 16 months so that doesn't hold any water. i'm going to quote what you always say is find a candidate who fit the district. democrats found a candidate who fit this district. he was a guy who comes from the place, who speaks to the issues that the people in that district care about. they had a good candidate who ran a good campaign and there's a lesson in that for democrats. >> he will be joining us. a big lesson and john, i keep going back to what you wrote about george h.w. bush if your biography about him just talking about a guy who mistrust -- who did not trust hard ideology, understood that sometimes there was a time for revolution, but sometimes there was time to bring people together and make things work. here you had conor lamb trying to do just that. you looked at what he was talking about. he didn't trash donald trump.
he talked about what he wanted to do, and his opponent though, rick saccone talked about people who supported conor lamb hating god and hating their country. it seemed like republicans are finding themselves in a more and more desperate spot and it seems right now -- yesterday we had vaughan hill yard quoting a guy who had voted for donald trump saying we need a good man in washington. we need a good man in congress. >> wow. >> i think that may be the line of the 2018 year so far. >> it is. and it's to my mind, you know, you have virginia, you have alabama, you now have pennsylvania in the upcoming senate race here in tennessee with a former democratic
governor who's running against probably marsha blackburn. released an ad saying look, i'm not against donald trump. if he says something sensible, you know, pause for laughs, but you know, if this happens i will be with him. if he doesn't, i'm going to oppose him. i'm for tennessee, i'm not for trump or against trump. and that's the kind of message that i think you saw in pennsylvania as well. in so far as these candidates in this long shadow of the 2016 election and its attendant ongoing twitter chaos whereby the heir to thomas jefferson is fired by a tweet, then you're going to have, i think, a common sense ethos going into -- into next year and i would think that candidates who could say look, we're here to solve problems,
we're not here just to attract attention to ourselves, i bet that's going to resonate. >> that's a strong message and willie, you had talked about finding candidates that fit the district. we have been critical -- i have been critical in the past of democrats for not being willing to do that in the past. mika and i, when we went down and spoke to democrats and talked to some republicans, we were really stunned by how open democrats were. the most progressive members of the democratic caucus saying you know what? we have got to find candidates that fit the districts they're running in. i always told my kentucky story about you know, that pro life, pro gun democrat in northern kentucky and when i found that out i told the republican candidate you're screwed. this race is over. and they all -- every democrat
we talked to were like yeah, that's what we have to do to win. find candidates that match the district. that's exactly what they did last night. >> this wasn't supposed to be one of the most competitive districts for democrats. as the cook report and everybody else looked at it it wasn't even the top 100 but the combination of donald trump's first 14 months and this candidate who fit the district, i think democrats will be looking that way now that we can't have a national brand of a candidate. there are 435 districts that need 435 different candidates to fill those seats. let's go to that district. joining us now from pennsylvania, msnbc correspondent. is there any scenario at this point in which rick saccone can come back based on provisional absentee ballots? what is saccone going to do from here? >> reporter: yeah, good morning, you guys. rick saccone's general consultant last night, as conor
lamb was giving his speech said there wouldn't be a concession for several days. this could go all the way to next week is when those provisional ballots, the military ballots, those absentee ballots won't come in until all the way up until march 20th and it may take up until then when they make their decision. and rick saccone was quite clear himself about his own intentions. >> you know we're still fighting the fight. it's not over yet. we're going to fight all the way to -- all the way to the end. don't give up and we'll keep it up. we're going to win it. >> it took a little longer than we thought, but we did it. i've heard conor, the job you're running for is the house of representatives. so if you get down there, do the job. do the job.
okay. i will. mission accepted. >> six hours before nbc called it conor lamb decided to take the stage himself and call the race on his behalf. for republicans heidi was alluding to this earlier. outside groups spent more than $10 million to help out rick saccone in this race. one super pac had 80 people, paid door knockers to make up what the campaign didn't have. to say this sort of district is a concern for republicans, the nrcc put in. they put money into this race. at the same time this was big for democrats here because this was their golden opportunity. you're talking about recruiting candidates. this is a guy who fit the district. you were mentioning the guy who said that he was making a vote for decency. that was a republican. there was also a republican woman over the weekend that called conor lamb every mother's
dream. this was conor lam who was the former marine, the former federal prosecutor, everybody knows that story but it came down to those local issues and i talked to this man anthony ross who i first met on monday in washington county and he had the time -- he was a trump voter and he was unsure how he was going to vote. i called him up late last night and he told me he cast his vote for conor lamb and he said what fried rick saccone's butt was his unwillingness to concretely say where he stood with labor in this district. this was a man that worked for 42 years at a sheet and tubing steel facility in cannonsburg when it shut down in 2008 and he felt that conor lamb while he still supports donald trump was that candidate to represent pa '18. >> fascinating. incite the district. also you talked about all that republican money. the president of the united states brought in to close the deal at the last minute and apparently could not get it
done. >> could not get it done. looking ahead to the midterm, steve, can democrats pull clear lessons here beyond having a candidate that fit the district which they haven't had in past special elections? >> yeah, look, i think the lesson and maybe it's not just for democrats or maybe the indicator, that's the better word, the indicator that comes out of this is this is not an isolated event that we just saw here in pennsylvania '18. look at it this way. from the start of donald trump's prt si, presidency, go back to 2018. you were in a district in kansas that trump had won by 27 points and that special election the republican won but the margin fell down to 7 points. this is a pattern we've seen a few times since. trump had won montana, the congressional district also falls down to 7. you're seeing a double digit spring. south carolina, trump had won it by 19. went all the way down to 3 in a
special election. georgia 6, trump won narrowly, that's one in there as well. doug jones eking that thing out on election night and here we go, this was trump by 20 and this is, you know, basically democrat by .3, but your ear getting double digit swings now in five of these congressional senatorial special elections. double digit swings. that really looks like a trend. >> yeah, you know, and steve, the problem is as willie underlined, you've got about 120 districts that are even more competitive than pennsylvania '18 that the republicans are now going to have to try to defend. it used to be that people said oh, you've got 30, 35 districts that are actually competitive out of 435. pennsylvania '18 shows they're going to have to be defending
100 plus districts. i -- not exactly sure how they spread that money around. >> here's the interesting thing that's raised by this district. the character of this district is a little different than what we normally talk about. i think a lot of times when we've looked at these congressional districts they call into two categories. maybe republicans you know, have either lost it in the past or narrowly win and suddenly they win by -- i'm not sure why i'm pointing back to the screen, there's nothing on there. the second is the opposite where there's the backlash against trump. we saw it in 2016. think of georgia six where republicans normally win big. this is the third variety. republicans won big with trump. they also won big with romney. the margin was the same, 20 points. since 2000, this has been a double digit republican district. it's not just a trump phenomenon that got it there and yet trump's presidency now produces a democratic congressman from
this district that had been 20 points across the board. >> yeah. wow, and boy, that is a 20-point backlash and if you look at all the backlash here, we're putting up, kansas 4, again a 20-point swing. georgia 6. 3-point alabama. you've got 15 south carolina, 15 alabama senate, 30 now we have another 20 point swing. it's -- that's quite a backlash against stephen just 18 months. i know you've been up all night. >> thank you, steve. >> it was a fun one. >> get some sleep. it was a fun one. thank you so much. >> and again, conor lamb will be our guest this morning on "morning joe." >> fantastic. david david, we were talking about the chaos of this past week but even yesterday the president fires
rex tillerson by tweet. then he fires the state department official who basically said rex tillerson was telling the truth and didn't line up with the official spin out of the white house. then we find out another white house official close to the president was escorted off the premises and is under investigation by the secret service for serious financial crimes. so much chaos going on as these voters went to the polls, but i've got to think that a president firing america's top diplomat by twitter before he even knows has to be so jarring, not only to our allies across the globe, but also to voters across america. >> as -- as voters went to the polls yesterday they had this image of a washington in chaos p president behave in an almost
capricious way for somebody that worked for him. the biting image of this pennsylvania election is donald trump on saturday speaking to a crowd that was just roaring i approval, you know, just people clapping and cheering, and you might have thought looking at that that the president's personality, his appeal to his base might carry the day. no. in fact, he has that group of supporters 30 to 40% who clap as loud as they can, but in the end, it couldn't help keep a district that has been reliably republican so that contrast trump speaking to this narrow group and you think he's still got those trump voters, turns out that yesterday he didn't. >> that's a great point, david and for you know, all the people as we said before, for his base that he inspired, he was turning
off segments of women voters, of black voters, of hispanic voters, of once again republicans in suburbs, that's the thing. you know, every time cable news networks play donald trump speaking for 90 .s, yes, it gins up a third of america, but i would suggest that trump's actually hurting himself, the president is actually hurting himself because he's offending all of these groups that have turned a deep red seat throughout this entire century into a blue district now and they've also elected a young man and my gosh, i am so old. he looks like he's about 15 because i'm such an old guy, but they've -- they have -- they have let conor lamb in the door of former prosecutor and a u.s. marine who we're going to be talking about i would guess -- you say this, i've just doomed him.
he'll be out next week for the next 20 years. >> yeah. >> and this -- you -- you look back again, you look back at what happened in 1974, post water gate, and you look at the generation of leaders that that '74 off year election created for democrats and i just wonder if we're not seeing the rebirth of a national democratic party here, stay with me, everybody, stay with me. >> okay. don't get us ahead. >> no, because you were finding, john, that the democratic party has awakened, they've gotten smart and they have a lot of u.s. marines, a lot of retired military men and women, a lot of people that are fitting their district that sort of out of the seth mollton mold that is going to be tough for republicans to paint as people like poor rick saccone tried to paint conor
lamb, a u.s. marine as somebody who hates his country. >> yeah, harry truman had that 22 years of retirement and he talked a lot. he left a lot of notes. one of the things he left was the idea that the democratic party or the republican party to thrive had to have people of different id logical views under the same tent. he worried about having two parties that were id logically pure to fight for the country. and now the democrats seem to be in a better position to actually have some internal debate that sometimes we think of internal debate as a sign of dissension and a battle of the soul. it's actually a sign of health because that means the party is going to present a candidate that is more representative of the country going into a general election and ultimately into governance that the one issue, one note party. and that's the one caution i
would make about the idea that -- of the wave which i suspect is real, you know, in 1982, reagan gets hammered, gets re-elected. 1994, famously bill clinton gets drowned in the wave, wins in 1996. barack obama, '10, wins in '12. one of the things i think we always have to remember when we talk about the age of trump is that he is a national almost disembodied brand from the ordinary conventions of politics. and it may be that he cannot transfer his popularity, his connection to his base to anybody else. but that doesn't mean heading into a re-election year that he won't be able to put together, cobble together the same kind of coalition and i think the people who are most dedicated to trying
to change the tone of the country need to be focusing very hard, very strongly on that particular national brand. >> and it is a reality and you know, barack obama, he did not have coat tails. he got hammered in '10. his party got hammered in 10 and '14. you can say the same thing of course about bill clinton. >> yes. >> and it doesn't -- right now it's not transferring for donald trump and you wouldn't expect it to transfer for donald trump. as we've said about hillary clinton, she kept thinking she could do what bill clinton did on the campaign trail. she just couldn't do it. she wasn't that candidate and donald trump got elected. so there's no doubt, democrats could win huge this year and donald trump still has a good chance of getting a lot of those people that voted for conor lamb back on his side because it's important to remember, in that district donald trump still has
a 51% approval rating. >> but i think every day -- every day this president makes it easier for democrats, they can take a page out of the trump play book and steal his brand and make america good again as this presidency appears to rot all the way to the core. i'm not saying we should get cocky about things. >> you have to have the candidate that can actually stand on the debate stage with him and do just that, because the democrats and the republicans threw about 20 candidates at him and none of them were able to do it. >> so next we'll get into the rex tillerson time line. this is a huge story making international head loouns. how john kelly reportedly tried to soften the blow before one of america's highest ranking officials was publicly and unceremoniously fired via twitter. >> willie did that to me one time. >> at this point no one can come on the show on the republican side and say you can ignore the
president's twitter. >> plus, why the secretary of state may have company reports say the vaeterans affairs is on the brink plus you're always hearing mcmaster is going and -- >> oh, my lord. >> you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back with much more. >> i'm really at a point where we're getting very close to having the cabinet and other things that i want. y taking down that schwab billboard. oh, not so fast, carl. ♪ oh no. schwab, again? index investing for that low? that's three times less than fidelity... ...and four times less than vanguard. what's next, no minimums? ...no minimums. schwab has lowered the cost of investing again. introducing the lowest cost index funds in the industry with no minimums. i bet they're calling about the schwab news. schwab. a modern approach to wealth management.
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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. >> so we're piecing together the timeline of the firing of rex tillerson beginning on friday when tillerson received a call in the middle of the night on his good will tour of africa. >> he had to be on the good will tour of africa because of what the president called every country in africa. >> so while he was cleaning up the president's mess in africa he got a call from john kelly in
the middle of the night. two sources tell the washington post the president was so eager to fire tillerson that he wanted to do so in a tweet on friday, but kelly persuaded trump to wait until his secretary of state was back in the united states. kelly had also warned tillerson to possibly expect a tweet from trump over the weekend, a state department official said. what makes this okay that he was warned that he's going to be fired on twitter? >> no. >> tillerson failed to fully understand that the chief of staff was gently signaling to him that he was about to be fired. good lord. tillerson cut his trip short citing lack of sleep and a phone call that had kept him awake. four hours after he landed in washington the president announced cia director mike pompeo as his replacement and thanked tillerson for his service. state department had tillerson
had not spoken with the president and learned of his firing because of the tweet. goldstein was fired shortly thereafter. trump never got over tillerson calling the presidents a moron but trump was conciliatory when he spoke about differences with tillerson while tillerson had little to say about his boss. >> i wish tillerson well. rex and i have been talking about this for a long time. we -- we got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things. when you look at the iran deal, i think it's terrible, i guess he thought it was okay. i wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently. so we were not really thinking the same. i think rex will be much happier now. >> i received a call today from the president of the united states at a little after noontime from air force one and
i've also spoken to white house chief of staff kelly. i will be meeting members of my front office team and policy planning later today to thank them for their service. they have been extraordinarily dedicated to our mission, which includes promoting values that i view as being very important. >> these two men obviously never clicked. secretary of state rex tillerson and president trump. perhaps the death blow was last week when president trump made the announcement about north korea without informing his secretary of state. in fact, a few hours before the president made that announcement secretary tillerson said we're a long way from negotiations with north korea. there's the policy side of it but i'm told as well there's a deep personal element to this that the president never got past. secretary of state tillerson himself never denied the moron comments. the spokes person said it wasn't true but tillerson when asked
again and again never denied he said that. what happened here in the end? >> i think in the end the fact that these two just didn't have chemistry didn't work well together, president never felt comfortable with tillerson as his representative, led to what was probably the inescapable outcome. last week i'm told that tillerson understandably since he's been the principal person talking about diplomacy with north korea was saying wait a minute, you just decided to do what i've recommended, but without consulting me? and that just made donald trump even angrier. senior official told me last night that this should have happened four to five months ago, that that's when this relationship really had broken down. we know that back in november the president was ready to make a change. i think he was probably talked out of it by john kelly who's been a protector for tillerson
who is the person who tried to break the news gently to him, but there was a sense of inef that billty to the change and if he can't speak for his boss, for the president, he's weakened. the secretary of state's job is to represent the president so that was really a dysfunctional situation. whether mike pompeo who obviously to quote president trump is on the same wave length, just the two of them look at the world the same way, whether he'll be a more effective commueffec effectieffec effective communicator, whether he can get the state department deeply depressed agency back on its feet being more creative we'll all be watching that carefully. but probably an inevitable change happened here, but it was done in the cruellest way possible. watching tillerson give that press conference, breathing so
heavily, trying to maintain his compo compose sure, i thought that was one for the video. >> and donald trump has just now cut off the ability to hire any self-respecting ceo or business leader for the next three years if he's even in the white house for the next three years. because again, this story of rex tillerson is a story of so many other people that came into the white house, and -- and embarrassed themselves. >> let alone the legal problems. who would want to come in? >> but humiliated themselves and i understand that rex tillerson did this because his wife told him he had a duty to do it to the country. i understand that and i still say he should be saluted for that. at the same time, if the reports are true, when somebody tells me to eat my salad, eat your salad, joe, i'm sorry, i'm going to turn to them and say why don't you, mr. president if you're so damn hungry and i'd throw it
right there. i mean, it does -- we've said this a thousand times. it does no good to humiliate yourself for donald trump. this is exhibit number 478. when are people going to learn that. >> gary cohn, you could say the same thing about gary cohn. rex tillerson and gary cohn who left huge jobs to come serve the country and in the end humiliated on twitter without so much of a phone call until after the announcement had been made. senator, good to have you with us this morning. what's your reaction as a member of foreign services to first of all the news that rex tillerson is out and second of all the way it happened? >> well, you're right willie, that it's not that surprising that he was fired by president trump. what is surprising, disturbing, even alarming is the humiliating way in this this came about. the timing, the process, it's
striking that a exactly at the moment that president trump's twitter rants may have secured an important diplomatic opening which rex tillerson had urged him to take. he cast aside his top diplomat i think further undermining the secretary of state's office, the department of state, the career foreign service officers upon whom we rely for diplomacy. this is an important moment in american history where we face clear threats from russia, from north korea, from iran, from other countries and where we need our diplomats to be well supported engaged and motivated. mike pompeo has a representation here on the hill for being smart, being aggressive, also being partisan and we don't know whether he will be a strong secretary of state or whether he will simply reenforce president trump's worst impulses. >> senator, there was some legitimate criticisms of rex tillerson and the way he ran the state department, that he was
gutting the department, that there was low morale but that doesn't appear to be why he was fired. he was apparently fired because of his differences with the president, that he was a restraining influence on the president so what do you think are the implications specifically with this deadline coming up on the iran deal and also with these negotiations coming up with north korea? what are the implications here for our foreign policy? >> well, those two are connected as you well know. i think that kim jong-un will look at the state of the iran deal, the multilateral deal that we struck under the last administration to restrain iran's nuclear program. president trump as a candidate promised to tear it up. he was prevented from doing so, talked out of doing so by his national security and foreign policy team, most of us on the hill, republicans and democrats, whether we supported or opposed the iran deal in our conversations on the foreign relations committee in hearings about this topic agree that we should take advantage of the ben
ge fits of the iran deal for now and trying to address some of the concerns of iran's aggressive behavior. rex tillerson also apparently shared that view. the president disagreed with him it's unclear what mike come pay owe's view will be on where we should be going but with a self-imposed may deadline by president trump to leave the deal that we will find ways to deal with iran's bad behavior, that's going to be a very top item for mike pompeo to take on should he be confirmed as secretary of state. >> some would argue that it would take a moron to tell the world that you're unstable and that you lurch around and can't make decisions, but if you look at this, it's not just --? are you talking about me? >> no, i'm not. this time i'm not. >> thank god. it's about time. >> looking at the implications. >> it is a vicious attack just because of the fish movie. >> it wasn't a vicious attack.
i just said some might say you would look like a moron if you acted so impulsively on the world stage and you would fire on twitter your secretary of state, someone who's heading up a state department that has so many unfilled spots it's almost dangerous, there's one thing, the implications of the north korea talks but he just sent tillerson to africa to clean up for his own mess and now all the new alliances and relationships that were made there, they have no one to talk to. i mean, this is a hot mess. >> it is, mika. we've got more than 30 ambassadorships unfilled to key allies. we don't have an ambassador to south korea which would be one of the key countries we would want to be very close with as we enter into a high stakes n neguations with north korea. rex tulerson, a great deal of experience as a corporate leader threw himself into a corporate
restructuring of the state department. it caused significant morale problems. a number of significant seen your positions unfilled. it's my hope that mike pompeo will change direction, support the career diplomats and focus on diplomacy, but we'll just have to see. >> good luck. >> thank you very, very much and coming up, the judge -- >> hold on one second. i wanted to go briefly. >> we're very tight on time. >> i know so i only have about 12 questions. david, real quickly just a side note overnight, reading news about angela merkel, this is the fourth time she's been elected as chancellor in germany. she survived a chaotic immigration process, letting a lot of syrian refugees in and crime rates went up and yet she has survived and the center had held in germany just like it did in france. what are we to make of this
brand new coalition in germany and what does it mean for the stability of europe? >> talking this past weekend with germans in europe, in brussels, joe, what i was hearing was that this coalition is an aging one, chancellor merkel is coming to near the end of her -- of her chancellorship, that people are remembering other long serving chancellors, cole was an example that was cited and how difficult it was for them in the end to maintain momentum. it's interesting that merkel has already selected the woman, she's the leader of the cdu, the christian democratic party in a small german state who she thinks would be an appropriate successor. so i think sensibly she's beginning to try to put together a new face for her party, a new person to lead, a strong germany with good leadership i think is
the single most important factor right now in keeping the world going in a sensible trajectory and she's going to be a little tougher for her with this coalition. >> and if you go back even six months, a year, there was a lot of talk about trumpism sweeping through germany, sweeping through france. that has not been the case. our most steadfast allies have actually been the most steadfast defenders of the ballot box of the traditional liberal order. and in the west, post war order. what's it mean? >> well, it's -- it means that the american tradition, which we obviously grows out of the magna carta tradition needs help from without to remind us about the rule of law and about the importance of a free press and about principal decent and i think it's ironic, it's
troubling to some extent that in fact the country that has been the great guardian and promulgator of those ideas, the united states, is having to look abroad to be reminded of what those principles are, but thank god we can. >> coming up, the judge overseeing paul manafort's virginia trial says the former trump campaign chairman could spend the rest of his life in prison. is it too late for him to start cooperating? also ahead -- >> he doesn't really have a lot -- >> you really need to think ahead. >> he doesn't have a lot of good choices. you want to be poisoned in prison or out of prison? it's not like this guy is going to move to london any time soon. >> think ahead. >> manafort, don't move to london, okay, dude? >> also ahead, we'll bring in the former secretary of homeland security jason son. we'll be right back.
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it will last for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 victims at marjory stoneman high school shooting in parkland, florida, one month to the day. joining us is a senior at marjory stoneman douglas high school david hogg. good to see you, david. i want to talk about the walk-out and your objectives. it strikes me that you have been thrust forward as advocates and good for you for raising your voices, but haven't heard much about how you're doing. you suffered an unimaginable trauma in school that day. how are you doing? how are your classmates doing? >> we're all doing as good as we could be. this is an unimaginable tragedy that nobody ever thinks will happen to them, nobody should ever think would happen to them, but it can and it does. sadly that's what happened here in parkland. but, i think what the difference this time is that we're all standing up and we aren't closing up like many communities
before us have. we're opening up to the world and the nation to show and expose the wounds that we have acquired as community so that no other city, no other club, and no other person has to be affected in such a negative way. >> heidi? >> hi, david. it's heidi prez bella. thanks for being up this early. what is next? we'll have this march and certainly this will adraw a lot of attention to the issue. i'm sure you're following what's going on in washington and seeing that the chances of major movement on gun legislation is evaporating by the day. you have an election coming up. do you see these threads between all of different students who are organizing in different cities as part of a new grass roots movement? what do you think will happen in the run-up to the election? >> i think what's going to happen in the run-up to the election is if our elected officials don't take
responsibility for their inaction on both sides of the aisle, then we are going to kick them out of office. we are their bosses as the american democracy. if they don't serve us like the representatives that they're supposed to be, that's okay because, one, we'll kick them out of office by not re-electing them and, two, they'll be remembered in our history books that my generation rights as the cowards that they are because they don't take action. we've seen so many thousands of people die with no action. and now we're here to change that. the way we really continue this movement even after the march is having more school walk-outs until legislative action is taken because this is ridiculous. how should we be expected to go to school and do our job as students if our elected officials won't. why should we have to? >> you know, david, all of us have -- most of us have children who are in school right now. it's deeply affected them. i suspect everybody regardless of their position on the second
amendment and what the second amendment is and is not have to talk to their children before they go to school. it is interesting that we had john from harvard institute of politics talking about polling numbers that i've seen before that are fascinating that millennial voters while more progressive on just about every other issue actually are more conservative when it comes to guns. obviously those of you who have taken the lead after parkland are not in that position. but i'm wondering, what message do you have instead of just to elected leaders, what message do you have to your own generation and other millennials who are more conservative than most would expect on this issue? >> one thing i think is important to remember about those polls is conservative students and conservative people the millennial generation are
typically a lot more politically active. the polls may be biased in that way. more students may not partake in them. there may be a skew in the polls that way. also it's important for the students out there that want to know what to do next, it's get out and vote. research who your politicians are even. know what they do. know who they're supported by legislatively and know who is supporting them financially for their campaigns because ever since citizens united we've seen a massive growth in the campaign contributions and corruption in politics as a result. and that has to change. sadly, our parents haven't done so, so my generation does. >> david, thank you so much for being with us. we greatly appreciate it. >> david hogg, incredible. still ahead on "morning joe" -- >> i hate to put this pressure on you, rick, they're all watching, because i won this district like by 22 points. it's a lot. that's why i'm here. look at all those red hats,
rick. look at all those hats. it's a lot of hats. [ cheers and applause ]. and we just had a poll we're more popular now than we were on election day. this guy should win easily, and he's going to win easily. >> wow. nothing like setting somebody up for the fall. >> he did not win easily. >> no, he didn't. >> hey a lot of red hats out there. all right. >> in fact, it doesn't look like the president's candidate won at all. we're going to talk to the apparent winner of the closely-watched pennsylvania house race, democrat conor lamb will join us live. we're back in 90 seconds. >> lot of red hats. my mom's pain from
moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis was intense. i wondered if she could do the stuff she does for us which is kinda, a lot. and if that pain could mean something worse. joint pain could mean joint damage. enbrel helps relieve joint pain, and helps stop further damage enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders and allergic reactions have occurred. tell your doctor if you've been someplace where fungal infections are common. or if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure or if you have persistent fever, bruising, bleeding or paleness. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. since enbrel, my mom's back to being my mom.
visit enbrel.com... and use the joint damage simulator to see how joint damage could progress. ask about enbrel. enbrel. fda approved for over 18 years. it took a little longer than we thought, but we did it. [ cheers and applause ]. i've heard conor, the job you're running for is the house of representatives. so if you get down there, do the job. do the job. [ cheers and applause ]. okay. i will. mission accepted. >> that is democrat conor lamb, the apparent winner of pennsylvania special congressional election who erased the president's huge margin of victory in 2016 to beat out his gop opponent in a traditionally red district. and he joins us live straight
ahead. and that capped a very chaotic -- >> boy, it was chaotic, wasn't it? >> really chaotic for the white house. it's been chaotic week after week after week, but this was especially chaotic. >> non-stop. >> first the president fires his secretary of state, and he does so on twitter. then he fires one of rex tillerson's top staffers who called the white house story into question. after that we learned that one of the president's closest aides who is reportedly under investigation for serious financial crimes was escorted off the white house grounds. he quickly landed a new job, though, with the president's re-election campaign. we haven't even gotten to the stormy daniels part of this. >> yeah. >> which she and her attorneys appear to be closing in on the president and saying, you know what, we're going to do what we're going to do, and you are going to be humiliated. >> i guess they're going on "60 minutes reque
minutes," saying we'll pay the money back. >> she will not be silenced and she has a right to tell her story and show the evidence of her story. this is not going to be goo for the president. >> what does she mean by the evidence? >> they keep eluding to documentary evidence. photographs and potential video and text messages. now, i don't think text messages -- photographs and videos. >> that "60 minutes" interview has been conducted by anderson cooper. >> it's supposed to run this weekend. cbs to their credit is really trying to make this airtight because apparently some of the things that she says are pretty salacious. some of them you just can't because it happens in the privacy of a bedroom. >> this is her attorney. the president and mr. cohen purposefully ignored our settlement offer, thus doubling down on their efforts to muzzle ms. clifford and prevent her
from telling the american people what happened. time to buckle up. if they can prove the president having sexual relations with a porn star right after the birth of his son, lying about it, covering up and trying to pay for her silence or pay for her services, i don't know. who knows at this point, this would actually, i think, close out the truth that some might say, oh, the media is lying. oh, the women are lying. this really puts ivanka trump, melania trump and the women in the white house, let alone the men, in a terrible position. you can't protect someone from this type of information that comes out about them. you can't overlook it. you can't be a counselor to the president and not comment on something like that. it will be a whole new ball game if this all comes tumbling out. >> john, again, i'm flabbergasted that the trump administration thinks they can
stop cbs from airing this "60 minutes" episode. we have the president with the pentagon papers, new york times, washington post, other papers able to publish what are considered to be considered military secrets, classified information that's been published time and time again. they are not going to let a nondisclosure agreement stop them from running this. if donald trump has an issue with stormy daniels legally, then donald trump will have to sue stormy daniels, but he will not be able to stop this interview. >> just remember everybody -- most people watching the show have seen the movie "the insider" about the tobacco whistle blower played by russell crowe in that movie. al pacino in that movie also. it's exactly this issue.
"60 minutes" pursued that interview back 15, 20 years to get him to go on the air and talk about the affects what the tobacco industry had done to sup resz the iskts of tobacco. you couldn't stop "60 minutes" because jeffrey had a confidentiality agreement. you can try to enforce a confidentiality agreement in court against the parties in the contract, but cbs, "60 minutes," "morning joe," whoever we have no obligations to honor anybody's confidentiality agreement. we put them on television, there's no prior restraint on that kind of publication. >> the president didn't sign it. you have to sign it. >> i agree. that's a whole separate -- >> he didn't sign it. >> that's a whole separate question if he decides to sue her. he could sue her. all i'm saying is cbs will not be restrained by the white house. >> what is he suing her for, the fact that he was too sloppy to sign his own agreement. >> let's go from stormy to the
secretary of state. >> silly. not very smart. >> david ignatius, what is the impact of the commander in chief firing the secretary of state via twitter? >> what a fire storm. >> and then having the secretary of state defiantly bid adieu to the state department and the country and then having another state department official fired for telling the truth about the secretary of state's departure. >> well, this is -- was a day in which the white house cruelly enforced its will on the state department and completed something that really began last fall when tillerson first came to be under by the president. the president, any president, needs to have a secretary of state who can speak for him and trump didn't have that person in tillerson. so you can argue that in terms of country's interests it's good
to have somebody in whom he has confidence, especially as he heads into a very sensitive negotiation with north korea. i think there's little argument about that. mike pompeo can fix a lot of the things that went wrong for tillerson simply by hiring some ambassadors, communicating better. what troubles people is the gratuitous cruelty and humiliation of the way rex tillerson, distinguished person who has tried hard to serve the country, the way in which he was treated. you could see as he came to the podium breathing heavily, under the strain of this extraordinary treatment where he lands, he reads by twitter he's been fired. the president doesn't call him for three hours to tell him personally that that's happened to him. it's just extraordinary. but i think at the state department there's likely to be a feeling, okay, things haven't worked out well with the secretary tillerson, as decent a person he is, let's try to move
forward with mike pompeo and the new team he'll put in. >> but what message, jon meacham, does it send to other staff members that the president of the united states participates in this cowardly act of firing america's top diplomat by twitter. >> while he's abroad. >> while the chief of staff knows the firing is coming and doesn't even give the secretary of state a heads up other than saying well you may be getting a derogatory tweet sometime this weekend. >> well, this is government by shackelton expedition, right? >> excuse me? you know what -- >> go ahead. tell us about that. >> people are eating their own here. and we'll shift. it's "lord of the flies." >> there you go. >> now we get it. >> it's this crazy, it's a
totally chaotic environment where there is no trust partly because i think there's no shared conviction about why they're there except that they would all like to be there. i think one of the true things the president said recently is everybody wants a piece of the west wing. which is such an elegant formulation. everybody wants a piece of the white house. but there is something to that. but what brings people together in effective white houses. obviously there's always personal ambition. obviously there's the personal interests as well. but the great ones have also actually wanted to do something that took the country from point b to point a, that made progress happen. and what this president has failed to do continually is articulate an agenda of hope as opposed to one of fear. and i think that that's -- i think that's the central reality of where we are. >> john, there's also loyalty.
you can still talk to reagan staffers who still speak glowingly about the man they worked for. you can talk to george w. bush staffers who were disillusioned in 2004 and 2005 but talk to them now, they all speak glowingly and with great deference and respect about the man they served with. obviously bush 41 the same. but right now you don't have that loyalty because it doesn't -- >> it's no comparison. >> it doesn't flow down, it doesn't flow up. by the way, another thing that's going to cause this white house to be destabilized today is if they need another thing happening is the election results in pennsylvania '18 last night. conor lamb whom we're going to be having on the show today soon, won in pennsylvania '18 in the district that the republicans won unopposed in 2016, unopposed in 2014, won by
about 28 points in 2012, won by over 30 points in 2010. this is as red of a seat as it gets. and it is the deepest, reddest, most republican part of pennsylvania that's been solidly republican since the turn of the century. john heilemann, we keep saying and everybody keeps warning viewers, well, you know -- well, yes. virginia was red. but it doesn't mean anything in the fall. yes, alabama was tough for republicans, but it doesn't mean anything in the fall. yes, pennsylvania 18 was tough for republicans, but it doesn't mean anything in the fall. that's sort of like saying a nor'easter going up from washington to wilmington to philadelphia to new york is not going to be a concern for connecticut. >> right. >> it just seems that this is the undeniable fate facing
republicans this fall. >> i agree with that 100%. and all of those precedents matt matter, historically speaking. you can derive certain kinds of warning signs from them. this one in particular, though, you were discussing it in the first hour a little bit is i would say particularly alarming for republicans because here is what didn't happen over in this race. what didn't happen was after donald trump and the republicans passed their giant tax cut, the biggest thing that the president has accomplished -- >> no impact. >> what they didn't do is even go and campaign on it. they didn't think that that was how you win this trump district. they didn't go down and say we have a raging economy, we've got a great stock market, we just passed this tax cut, that's how you win the race. no. they did not make that argument because they knew it wasn't going to work. instead, in this district which you're right, joe, is very red but is not among the most conservative districts in the country, so they don't have this argument around tax cuts that they think will win for them, so instead they rolled out these cultural issues. they ran on immigration. they tried to run on guns.
>> just like ed gillespie. >> nancy pelosi as the bogey woman in this race. that didn't work either. so if tax cuts and the economic message they decide can't help and the cultural trumpy messages did not work, a 20-point gap from 2016 is washed away, what arguments are they going to go to the hillary clinton districts? what arguments do you -- >> i was just going to say. >> what arguments will win for you there, guys? >> i was just saying that these races aren't in california or new york or illinois where hillary won. we're talking about western pennsylvania, which james called alabama. alabama, which i call alabama. and virginia, home of the nra. >> right. we're not even talking about these obama/trump districts because if you take the hillary clinton districts, they would win the house, right? and then we go to the obama/trump districts, the
republicans say their argument here is that, well, conor lamb was just an unusually good candidate and rick saccone was an unusually bad candidate. well, here is the problem for republicans. there are many conor lambs out there. i went in southern illinois, brendon kelly, got a great pedigree, he is doing the same thing that conor lamb is doing in pennsylvania. he's a former naval officer, prosecutor and what you're seeing here is many conor lambs around the country. this is like the tea party in a sense that these people are newcomers to running for federal office, but here is the difference with the tea party, these are people who have very deep civic ties in their communities. their former federal prosecutors, former c.i.a. officers. so they are people who are uniquely embedded and popular in their district. so message here is conor lamb is not a one-off.
you're seeing democrats like him rise up who have not run for federal office before. >> conor lamb in one of his first campaign ads shooting an ar-15. he is against abortion, although he respects the supreme court decisions on it and called for new leadership including on the democratic side in congress. that means nancy pelosi has to step aside. so he didn't fit a nancy pelosi or a chuck schumer vision o of what the democratic party should be. he fit what would win in that district. if they go district by district, don't have a national argument that focuses solely on cultural issues of identity politics. you want to win, you may not agree with some of the things the guy says, if you want to win the district, the tent has to get a little bigger and it has as of last night in pennsylvania. >> yeah. no doubt about it. let's bring in james. >> do we have the admiral? you know what, i'm going to take you to break. >> i want to say hi to him
really quickly. >> no. >> the admiral does not want to say hi to you. >> wow. still ahead on "morning joe," we'll talk with conor lamb who declared victory in yesterday's special election in pennsylvania. you talk too much. >> i'm a potted plant. >> we have secretary of homeland security jeh johnson standing by. a lot to get to, joe. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. top-rated . that five stars, two thumbs up, 12-out-of-10, would recommend thing. because if you only want the best thing, you get the #1 thing. directv is rated #1 in customer satisfaction over cable. switch now and get a $200 reward card. more for your thing. that's our thing. call 1.800.directv bp's natural gas teams use smart app technology
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you going to address the main headline of the story you called the president a moron and if not where do you think these reports -- >> i'm not going to deal with petty stuff like that. >> i was asked about that. i'm not going to deal with that kind of petty stuff. i'm not going to dignify the question. i'm not playing. these are the games of washington. i'm not dignifying the question with an answer. >> you know, that's a really old question. i think i've answered the question.
>> you think you've answered the question. >> i've answered the question. >> okay. well, i guess he did actually. >> right. >> when you think about it. >> oh, he answered. >> oh, he answered. >> oh, he answered. >> by not denying three times. >> well, take a look at what's -- >> opposite judas. >> joining us here on set, former homeland security secretary jeh johnson. and in washington -- now you can talk to him. you can say hi. >> there he is. >> former nato supreme ally, retired four-star navy admiral james, chief international security and diplomacy analyst for nbc news and msnbc. >> so admiral, i'm going to ask you david ignatius to talk about the firing of secretary of state. what impact does that have? we obviously know the impact it has in domestic politics, but take it internationally. what impact does that have when
we find out that the commander in chief of the united states of america fires his top diplomat via twitter in a disrespectful way and cowardly? >> i hate to do with this jon meacham watching but i'll pull something out of history which is back in the 17th century occasionally the british royal navy would literally shoot an admiral who lost a battle to encourage the others. and i think that a lot of the international reaction to this is there will be others shot before this is over so that revolving door hurts us diplomatically. look, what's important here is where will secretary pompeo, where is he going to take it? here is what i hope. he focuses on alliances, he focuses on the interagency process. he's a good guy who does not have sharp elbows. i hope he focuses at least a bit on the soft power part of the business peace corp., usaid.
he has roots in that area as well. and lastly, he's a good communicator which secretary tillerson, god bless that texan, was not a good communicator. so let's hope we go in a good direction. i think that's what the internationals will be saying. >> well, and mike pompeo, just looking from a distance, seems to have figured out how to communicate with donald trump while walking the fine line, testifying along with the other intel chiefs that russia was trying to interfere in the election while not incurring too much wrath. >> john heilemann, a lot of people are assuming that the president's picks via twitter for secretary of state and c.i.a. director are far from passing the sniff test in congress. >> yeah. i think mike pompeo having been
confirmed and having the history he has in congress will probably have relatively easy time becoming secretary of state. i think that the new potential head of the c.i.a. is going to have a serious, grilling because of the issues around intense interrogation and torture. she is likely to get confirmed, but that is not going to be an easy passage. there will be a lot of tough questions for her from both sides of the aisle. >> do you think she's likely to be confirmed? she's going to need democratic votes. >> she's going to need democratic votes. she'll get a hard look and she will get roughed up in her confirmation hearing i am sure. but if i had to bet today whether she would get confirmed i would say probably yes. >> mr. secretary. >> good morning. >> from a homeland security perspective, this instability and all this movement in and out of white house and now the state department, how does that impact homeland security? this can't be a very -- >> well, first i have to say --
>> -- good sign. >> everyone forgets who the first cabinet officer was to resign in donald trump's presidency. it was me. >> oh, right. >> seven and a half hours. i was the first to go. >> you should write a book about that. >> the longest 7 1/2 hours in my life. >> so, i don't think the turnover, the upheaval that comes with the turnover can be overstated. imagine a large public company like exxonmobil, for example, where the turnover and ceo was every 14 months. you would have a very difficult time launching any long-term initiatives. the reality is and i know this because i've been through it several times. when a secretary leaves and a new secretary comes in who has to be confirmed by the senate, basically anything at the senior most levels of that department
stops and it's paralyzed while everyone is get tlg nominee ready for senate confirmation, the various unders and assistant secretaries stop what they're doing. they're concerned about where the new boss wants to go. they're concerned about their own jobs. and so this is tremendously disruptive at a time when this president wants to begin a dialogue with north korea, which is no easy task. you would normally have your state department steeply embedded in that initiative situation right now and with russia is tense, with china is tense, with western europe it's tense. so i'm very concerned about basically the u.s. government with so much turnover at the white house and now with the cabinet departments. >> admiral, secretary johnson is right. if you look at a flowchart of the state department right now, boy, there are a lot of vacancies and high level positions like you referenced like the ambassador to south korea. you talked about mike pompeo
somebody who may be good in that job. isn't the lesson of rex tillerson if you cross the president of the united states f you challenge the president of the united states, if in the eyes of the president you're viewed as somehow condescending to him by explaining something you don't believe he understands that you'll be fired? in other words, isn't job stability in this administration loyalty to the president? >> unfortunately thus far you would have to say yes. and let's hope that mike pompeo, a west point graduate, really understands leadership, will kind of go at this job from the inside out, which means starting not with the white house actually but with the department of state and really working with the young diplomats, career diplomats. that place has been hemorrhaging the last year. we have got to get a situation where he gets himself in front of those people as a leader. then he has to keep on side with donald trump. and then he can start to work the international pieces of this thing.
he's got his hands full to say the least. but we need to wish him well, especially as we head into this north korea piece. he'll be an important voice. just one comment on gina haspel, the nominee for the c.i.a., i agree with secretary jeh johnson, good friend, we've worked together a lot. i think a plus for her is her life experience at the agency. she's worked there for 30 plus years. she is well regarded. she's a professional in that sense it's like jim mattis going to defense, gina haspel going to the c.i.a. that listen a point in her favor as these hearings unfold. >> i couldn't agree more. david ignatius, the c.i.a. is an obviously extraordinarily difficult agency to handle at times. my good friend, guy i loved who everybody loved in congress, porter gauss, former c.i.a. guy went over there and it was tough. it was tough for him. it's been tough for other c.i.a. directors.
and certainly agree with the admiral. i'm curious about what your thoughts are on her nomination and also let's talk about how mike pompeo handled the agency over the past year. i've heard pretty good things, which would suggest that maybe he's up to handling the state department in a way rex tillerson never was. >> joe, my sense is that mike pompeo was a popular director at the c.i.a. the fact that he was so close to trump was such a regular visitor to the white house made some analysts nervous at first that he might compromise the agency's independence, but i think the c.i.a. loves to be in the political sun. the idea that the president's pal is the c.i.a. director in the end goes down well there.
pompeo's whole pitch at the agency was let's take the gloves off. let's take more risks. let's be more aggressive in collecting intelligence in tough, denied areas. the work force loves that kind of thing. and so i think he ended up being popular. gina haspel is a career operations officer. she is very much shaped by the bureaucracy. she is shaped and tarnished by one of the terrible things that the agency ended up doing at the request of the bush administration, which was harsh interrogation, let's call it torture in these black sites. i think the key to whether she survives that issue will be senator diane fine steen, who is a member of the intelligence community in many years and has been the leader in this interrogation issue. if senator feinstein essentially puts her arm around gina haspel,
i believe she is somebody to lead the agency. i think that will go away. if feinstein opposes her, she'll have trouble. >> i have to bring this up, heidi, that, yes, it was the bush administration initiative that was supported by democrats who were red into this very early on. and were fine with it until "the washington post" broke a story i think it was 2005 about black sites across the globe and we were four years removed from 9/11. suddenly what republicans and democrats were asking the agency to do suddenly became less popular in 2005 and suddenly they were shocked, shocked at what was going on at the c.i.a. >> and that is why you see i think a lot of democrats up there on the hill saying that she was merely acting on orders, that was the acting policy at the time. and so, i think that's what -- >> and not just orders supported
by the bush administration but orders that had a bipartisan support in the years after 9/11. >> right. and actually i wanted to take it to the secretary, though, on pompeo, because, yes, it does look like he will be confirmed but at the same time that doesn't mean that his hearing will be a cake walk. one of the things that tillerson said when he left, he went to the back of the plane and he really lowered the boom on russia. he was trying to put out a warning flair. this comes a day after this president was refusing to come down on russia for the nerve agent attacks. so what do we need to know from pompeo about his stance on russia? because as c.i.a. director, he did say that he believed our intelligence agencies, but we don't know what his position is, for instance, on what the punishment should be. >> right. >> having been through three senate confirmation hearings, i can tell you it's an exercise in do no harm. you do your best to get through it without revealing too much
about your own personal views, without tripping up. senator, that's a very important question i look forward to working with you on. >> do you ever think about doing seminars. people take seminars, you should do that. >> it's not a search for the truth necessarily. >> like the princeton review of confirmation survival. >> senator, that is a fantastic question. >> that's a great question. you left me 33 seconds to answer it. and i look forward to working with you on that. >> so you're saying it's just like "morning joe." we have 32 seconds left. >> no, not exactly. not exactly. but i would like to say something, though. we all understand when your in the cabinet, you serve at the pleasure of the president. you have no job security. you can be removed any time, anywhere for almost any reason. a cabinet officer is effectively three things -- the ceo of an agency, you are the president's representative to that agency, but then you're also the agency's representative to the
president. and very often in the white house perspective you only see maybe one, possibly two of those and not all three. >> admiral, quickly -- that quickly instruction was for me not you. >> yeah, hurry up, joe. >> get this question done in less than five minutes and not ask you about that fish movie. really quickly, it seems to me that actually getting rid of rex tillerson, though done in the worst of all ways, yesterday the timing was actually good if you are moving forward and you are trying to have a summit with kim jong-un on what barack obama told donald trump would be the issue that keeps him up at night. you need your people around you. you need people you can trust. you need people that you're not afraid are calling you morons behind your back. wouldn't you agree the timing is actually pretty good for the
president even in which the manner he carried it out was disgraceful. >> yeah, i do agree with that. as secretary johnson said, at the end of the day the cabinet is a series of advisers to the president. everything else in the end is kind of white noise. and the president has a right to pick the people he or she wants around. but this timing i would say is good, joe, because of the crucial issue with north korea and on iran. that's going to be the other big issue on secretary pompeo's plate immediately. >> all right. >> really quickly, secretary, what do you think -- >> jeh johnson, your thought, homeland. >> i'm into it. >> it's good, isn't it? >> yes. you have to divorce from reality what you would expect to happen. >> right. >> but i've been binge watching. so i'm into it this season. definitely. >> it's good. >> claire danes and i once had a sit-down, table for three, new york times. it was one of the fun things i got to do in office. >> she's really good. >> oh, yeah. former homeland security
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my new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea. we may even have a space force, develop another one, space force. we have the air force, we'll have the space force. we have the army, the navy. you know, i was saying it the other day -- because we're doing a tremendous amount of work in space. i said, maybe we need a new force. we'll call it the space force. and i was not really serious. and then i said, what a great idea? maybe we'll have to do that. that could happen. that could be the big breaking story. >> sounds like he talked himself into it. president trump speaking there during his visit to california
yesterday. he visited prototypes of the southern border wall, inspecting eight recently constructed proposals near the u.s./mexico border in san diego. trump told reporters the wall would stop 99%, according to him, of the illegal entries across the border and called people attempting to cross the border illegally from mexico incredible climbers. >> ohmy god. >> yeah, he did. >> the round piece you see back there, the larger it is the better it is because it's very hard to get over the top. it's really deterrent from getting over the top. who would think, who would think? but getting over the top is easy. these are like professional mountain climbers. they're incredible climbers. they can't climb some of these walls. some of them they can. those are the walls we're not using. >> mountain climbers. >> incredible climbers. >> i thought it was supposed to be see-through. >> aren't they leaving more than they're coming. don't the numbers defie the logic of this stupid wall? >> stop introducing facts into
this discussion. you're going to confuse things. >> i can't believe. that's our president. >> that was a classically trumpian spectacle of him like they were picking out drapes for the taj mahal, looking at different pieces of the wall and deciding which ones he should pick. >> we're getting the ones that work, not the ones that don't work. senator tim kaine joins us next. the winner of the pennsylvania house race conor lamb. we're back in a moment. ♪
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joins us now member of the armed services and foreign relations committee democratic senator tim kaine of virginia. senator, good to have you on the show. >> thanks, mika. >> have you ever seen anything like that in terms of a exodus from a white house and administration capping off with rex tillerson and then some over the past 48 hours? >> no.
it's just been one after the next. and there will probably be somebody else today, mika. we wake up everyday and we don't know what's happening. i'm sure the white house is very upset after the pennsylvania race last night, but the tillerson announcement and the quick announcement of mike pompeo took everybody by surprise up here. you know, and the worry about it is first just more chaos from an administration that wants to cut diplomacy funding, that won't send us ambassador nominees, that sends out crazy tweets even about the leaders of our friendly nations much less our adversaries. and this is just more of the same chaos makes us less safe. >> right. >> i worry it raises the risk of accidental or unnecessary war. >> so what is the level of the destabilization at this point. some might fear that one -- one disastrous event might not be handled so well given the instability we have all the way to the top?
>> well, that is our worry. mika, there are some strong people on the national security team, general mcmaster, general dunn for the joint of the head chiefs. you hear rumors about mcmaster going. >> right. definitely. >> some of those strong people at the top i think they try to check the president's worst impulses. secretary tillerson tried to check his worst impulses. the accounts are that he tried to encourage the president to stay in the paris climate deal. he said the iran deal, which is being complied with, it's better to hold it together than to blow it up. but it looks like the president is increasingly not following the advice of the people who know what they're talking about who are around him and that's what -- that's a great, great worry right now. >> senator kaine. good to see you this morning. >> thanks. >> you tweeted yesterday about mike pompeo who will be nominated now to be secretary of state. you called him, quote, dangerous. you said the secretary of state should always seek diplomacy over war suggesting congressman
pompeo did not do that. does that mean you're a no-vote for his confirmation? >> i'll be on the committee that will interview him. willie, i have grave concerns during the discussion about the iran deal. he said he didn't want to do the deal and basically said, hey, look, it would take us 2,000 bombing runs to wipe out iranian nuclear capacity. you know our al lice and us could do that. anybody who is leaning towards military action over diplomacy i think that raises real problems if you're being nominated to be the chief diplomat of the united states. >> does that mean you would have trouble voting for him? >> he's going to have a lot of convincing to do base on the statements he has on the record. i don't think we need more fire and fury in the secretary of state's office. i think we need a diplomat. >> to fill his position nominated will be gina haspel a career c.i.a. official. obviously has we've discussed so far this morning she ran a black site in 2002 in thailand where there was torture. she oversaw that operation and also in a cable talked about destroying tapes, video tapes of
that torture. would you be a yes or no vote for her confirmation? >> again, this will go through intel and vote for it on the floor. the combination of her track record with the torture program but then her apparent involvement in destroying records and tapes about that program i think that this really sends a bad signal to put something like that as the head of the c.i.a. again, i'm going to see how she does at the hearing, but those are two really, really tough bits of history that would suggest that she's not the right person to head that agency. >> senator, david ignatius has a question for you. >> thank you. >> senator, i want to ask you, you've been a real advocate of having new authorization for the use of military force in places like syria and yemen where u.s. -- >> right. >> -- weapons are being used. i'm wondering as you look at the mood of congress you're finding more support for drawing that
line more sharply, having a new piece of legislation? >> david, thanks. a couple of things about it. yeah, since 2014 i have really pushed that we ought to rewrite the 2001 it's kind of started and stopped but right now on the foreign relations committee the effort is moving forward with more republicans and democrats joining partly because of a concern about the decision making of the white house. so yes, the effort on the authorization is starting to move forward. this is about the nonstate actors. we see a white house increasingly engaged against state actors. they fired missiles and engaged in an air strike.
it is not a nonstate it is military action on foreign soil against a state that is not declared war against the united states. we'll have a classified briefing this week to try to understand what the syrian strategy is. i will keep pressing him. it was defining what history kind of writes and responsibilities are. i have been trying to get that memo from the administration so we can make sure that the white house is not in clearly unconstitutional waters in the views of their own powers. >> okay. always good to see you thank you very much. >> thanks, senator. . still ahead, nbc news declared him the news. >> democrat connor joins us here on morning joe in three minutes.
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we the people... are defined by the things we share. and the ones we love. who never stop wondering what we'll do or where we'll go next. we the people who are better together than we are alone... are unstoppable. welcome to the entirely new expedition. national affairs and columnist for the editor of the washington post. it is almost the top of the hour. joining us from pennsylvania the apparent winner of the special
election in pennsylvania's 18th congressional democrat. congratulations. good morning. thanks for being on the show. >> good morning. you know what they will calling him. they will be called lamb slide. >> what do you think made the difference in this race? i think good old fashioned hard work. i think it really paid off. >> what would you say? >> i guess i would say thank you. >> so the district obviously went republican certainly since the turn of the century.
it a plus 21 republican district. what did you hear from constituents who voted for donald trump but said they were going to vote for you? we even had an interview. what did these tell you? >> well, to be honest i never asked anyone who they voted for in 2016. i was asking for the honor of just representing them, doing the job of representing them. the feed back most gave me overall is they felt like if things are too divided they hear a lot of bickering and they don't see results. i said i care about getting things done. >> what else did you hear on the ground? what are the lessons for heading
towards the midterms? are there any you can tell them? >> i wouldn't presume to give lessons to people outside the district. i think every drink is pretty different. hard work really pays off. it works and i learned a lot doing it. i think it helped our campaign an awful lot. >> congratulations on your apparent win which we are calling here. you made the case on the campaign trail. there needs to be new leadership in washington. you said so at the top of both parties. you said it wasn't perm personal.
do you think nancy pelosi should go? >> well, i don't know that we are there yet. i moon my understanding is there wouldn't be a leadership vote this year yes. i continue to say i think we need new leadership at the top in the house. i would like to see someone besides nancy pe llosi. >> what is it you believe makes her unqualified to do the job or believe she should go? >> i always learn that responsibility starts at the
top. >> that is one of the thingings you really campaigned on, breaking congressional gridlock. how do you see yourself working with president trump? what are his economic populist policies that he has advanced on so far? >> he has fatalked about a numb of issues. i think he has shown flexibility, the infrastructure is probably number one there. we have a real need for it out here. just basic things like the structural efficiency, highway projects. i think he is receptive and i think it's up to us to work together to get this thing done.
the president decide tsz to bring you his own particular brand of positive and negative on the ground. do you think the president's visit had a negative effect? did it help your opponent or hurt your opponent? how do you think it played out over the last 92 hours of the campaign? >> i don't know exactly. it will be up to the analysts to figure that one out. i think i can say i think the president is very popular. my getuess is he did energize se voters. there was no secret we were many are than willing to make it a real fight. i'm really proud of my team for
coming out on top. >> david has a question. >> you appear to have won by withini winning the votes of people. i wonder whether you'll tell fellow democrats democrats need to do more than that to try to find ways to speak to them. >> we we should be working together. that is what people wrant. they have a right to expect that. it is time for us to get bills passed. you know, things like social security and medicare and everything people pay into. i think we have to get these things finished and move on.
>> i was in congress once. did you know that? >> what? >> it was a brief stint. >> yes. >> but colorful. >> but colorful. >> when i first ran in the late 18 hundreds i was shocked after knocking on about three or four-doors in northwest florida i knew what was on the mind of most of the people in that district. i would hear the same thing over and over again. i'm wondering since you ran a grass roots campaign, i'm wondering, when you were visiting people in their living rooms across pennsylvania what were you hearing? what were the themes that people kept bringing up? what were their biggers concerns? -- biggest concerns?
>> what i heard overall was -- i just kept hearing over and over again work together, work with the other side. do what you say you've goire go do. i think that people basically want us to do the job of representing and they don't want us to shut down the government. they don't want us to bicker. they want us to figure these things out. >> all right. congratulations. we'll -- congratulations and good luck. >> thank you. >> all right. thanks so much. john, so this is a -- this is how good he is. >> yeah.
>> i thought his answers were pitch perfect. what are you going to tell the democrats? >> you understand why the republican mayor said i will vote for him because we need to send good men to washington. that's certainly how he protects hichls himself on tv. >> it would be easy to get carried away. >> yes. talking about how with national democratic party -- he didn't do any of that.
he is going to have to run in a redrawn district. >> totally but staying humble and not getting too carried away, he has another fight to fight. >> you know, he also -- not om democrats but also the republicans that you can actually be agile. you know, you can differentiate and still win. >> every district is different. no other democratic the
competition will be how hard can you go after donald trump? how can you say you hate donald trump? how many times can you say donald trump ought to be impeached? he knew his district. >> and again, it's that agility that i think national democrats, and i know you have seen it more. they want to win. the leaders i have spoken with, they are interested in candidates where the districts
where they are running. >> and i mentioned others that i went around for a couple of those. he knows it is already lathered up there. he had to have that happen and he also had to get the union hall voters, those blue collar voters who really care about economic issues. it was focusing on the tax cuts. it was sbreinteresting how he s
what are the implications for your medicare? he was really taking back that economic populist message. >> it really is a take away that the tax cuts just that republicans had hoped would fuel their campaigns in 2018 just had absolutely no impact in western pennsylvania. in fact they didn't even run because day saw they were having no impact. one said it's a drink, but
that's reality. not -- all of these are different but there's a large portion that it is not well served by a tax cut that goes to the rich and to corporations. you won't sell it in those districts that hillary clinton. >> right. >> coming out of this you look at this and you say what are we going to run on, guys in the districts where we are vulnerable? what message do we have? >> good luck. the republicans told me going to this. >> it department work here. it didn't work here. >> i didn't work there going against washington democrats. didn't work in the state of alabama. this is a lot like my old district when i ran. most of the county wide office
holders in my county were democrats but very conservative. there is a populist tie there. donald trump is very popular in florida. david, i look at connor and perhaps the trend stops here this morning. i see so many candidates like the one hide she was talking ab. making it impossible to attack them an anti american, which rick suggested last night. i'm wondering if we aren't looking at the possibility of a dall class like the 74 watergate where you bring in young
democratic leaders where you control the party like a decade or two. >> i think that's one of the things where connor lamb can be in a party that can have a big enough at the present time that they feel at home in the democratic party. it is an interesting battle. >> and pennsylvania already is an exception to the democratic rule that it is exclusively a pro-choice party because you have bob casey just like his dad who was a governor who did you want fall right in line with democrats on social issues. >> you know, can the democrats
recreate a governing coalition? i think that's the question they need to focus on. >> yeah. i would be -- again, if i had not gone with her last week i would have been a little more skeptical. the most progress ifr voices in that room are saying we are finding candidates are aligning and that's what we have to do if we want to become a national party again. we saw it last night in pennsylvania. we may see it again very soon. >> you remember that's what he did in 2006. >> exactly. all right. still a45ed head, rex tillersonr admitted but he never denied it. you look back at the short troubled tenure. you're watching morning joe. we'll be right back.
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uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. we are piecing together the time line beginning on friday when tillerson received a call while on his good will tour of africa. >> wait. he had to be on a good will tour of africa because of what the president called every country in africa. >> two sources tell the washington post the president was so eager to fire tillerson that he wanted to do so in a tweet on friday but kelly
persuaded him to wait until he was back in the united states. till tillerson cut his trip short. four hours after he landed in washington the president announced mike pompeo as his replacement and thanked tillerson for his service. tillerson had not spoken with the president and learned of his firing by the tweet. >> so that was the truth. >> goldstein was fired shortly
will after. trump spoke about differences with tillerson. tillerson had little to say about his boss. >> rex and i have been talking about this far long time. we got along quite well but we disagreed on things. i wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently. so we were not really thinking the same. i think rex will be much happier now. >> i received a call today from the president of the united states a little after noontime from air force one. i have also spoken to white house chief of staff kelly. i will be meeting members of my front officer team and policy planning to thank them for their service.
they have been extraordinarily dedicated to our mission which includes promoting values that i view as being very important. >> these two men obviously never clicked, tillerson and president trump. perhaps the death blow was when trump made the announcement without informing secretary of state. there's the policy side of it but i'm told as well there's a deep personal element to this tillerson never denied that he said this. what happened here in the end? >> i think in the end the fact that these two just departmeidn
chemistry worked well together. he felt it with their representative and lead to what was probably the inescapable outcome. i'm told that tillerson understandably, since he has been the principal person talking was saying wait a minute. you just desaided to do what i recommended but without consulting me? that just made donald trump rch angrier. a season your official told me this should have happened four to five months ago. that's when this relationship had broken down. we know that back in november the president was ready to make a change. i think he was probably talked out of it by john kelly who has been a protector. but it was a sense of inevitably to the change. let's face it. if secretary of state can want
speak for the president he is weakened. sk tear of state's job is to represent the president. so it was really a dysfunctional situation. whether mike pompeo who obviously is on the same wave length, whether he'll be a more effective communicatebeing more active and creative. we'll be watching that carefully. probable an inevitable change happened here. it was done in the rulest way possible. watching tillerson give that press conference brooegt so heavily, i thought it was one for the video vault. . coming up, russian roulette. a new book tells the inside
story of putin's war on america. we'll talk to the author straight ahead. first a check on the forecast, bill. >> can you believe finally the third blizzard is done and we'll talk about the chance of a fourth storm? eastern new england 1 to 2 feet of snow. reported 26 if. >>s -- 26 inches of snow. it is still snowing and snow is bleeing all the way back to new eng lapd. a lot of areas kucould pick up to 8 inches. the rest of the country is not too bad today. the south was very cold and now it's improving. denver not bad. we have been wet in california
lately. so number four form will be out in the west this weekend. monday it heads into the middle of the country. by tuesday it redevelops off the coast. could bring significant snow to interior sections. we have five to six days for this to change. the weather pattern hasn't changed in the last three weeks. we have had so many nor'easters. we'll see what happens. tuesday next week if grow have tlafl plans in the northeast keep it in the back of your mind to pay attention. you're watching morning joe. we'll be right back.
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we are speaking with teresa may today. as soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them we will condemn russia or whoever it may be. i'll speak it some time today. >> it was president trump addressing the assassination attempt. it comes as teresa may is expected the announce to parliment a series of measures against russia. it was to give a full explanation of how a nerve agent s was used. may said it was highly likely russia was involved in the attack. russia will not respond to london's ultimate until it received and vowed to retaliate any measures the u.k. takes. washington nbc chief foreign
affairs correspondent and the great one and only. >> you're the great one and only. thank you. >> i want to start with you. just talk about this situation in britain. talk about what's going on there not just with this one since dent but with another and what the implications are not just for british and russian relations which are obviously central and what it could be, the kind of pressure it might put on president trump. >> this is not the only ins depth and putin infamously said that the cardinal sin for anyone is betrayal signaling it is not the only ins depth and it certainly hasn't been in the past with what we have seen of other poisonings. this is so much more potent than vx. it was done in a public place.
the whole town has had to take all sorts of precautions. teresa may is going to announce the retaliation including the expulsion and called for an emergency meeting today. this is going to put a lot of pressure on the u.s., the administration to finally stand up. we saw a weak response only after former secretary tillerson had spoken out forcefully monday night on his flight back from africa and pointedly saying that russia's behaifr yviors from th state department yesterday. he was contradicting what sa sanders did in refusing to knowledge or accept the british description of this, the
conclusion that russia was involved. the only question is whether it was the official government and we all know there's no other explanation other than it is putin. nobody else has the kind of stuff. the fact is that this really is another example of the most dramatic of this administration being soft of russia because of the president's own particular biases. we can all speculate as to why. >> yeah. i want to ask you. you look at this and you can't help but read this on some level. it is not the first time that enemies have been poisoned. there is a trail of dead bodies that stretch back years now. this will be -- the becomes a test of nato's self-defense
obligations and will put not just political and rhetorical pressure on the united states and could potentially put genuine pressure on him to stand up and say yes, we stand with our allies in britain. it's not something that donald trump has seemed willing to do in his first year. >> i think it's absolutely right. >> the sub text of it was we don't quite understand why russia is going this now. the idea would be hey, you have got a friend in the white house. you can play nice a little bit. if you to hammer them they only respond to toughness. that's sort of what we are seeing now. being soft of russia, i mean this is the evidence that putin is doing things that is outside of the norms.
i mean if britain, our oldest and closest ally says hey, this is an attack on our sovereignty, i want to invoke article 5. he has been trying to unravel and say hey, your article 5 thing is bs. it doesn't really work. >> hi. you mentioned secretary tillerson lowering the boom and really sending up flairs here in his parting comments. we know as cia director he did at least accept the findings of our intelligence community. at the same time we have the house committee shuttering their investigation. there has been no sanctions on russia. what do we need to know about the position on russia? >> i think it's one of the questions they will be asking.
as has been pointed out pompeo was present by the intelligence community early on in the administration. he knows what the intelligence assessment is of russia's involvement in the election. as late as july when he this was speaking the security forum he seemed to be down playing it by saying well, russia has always done this. they have done this rather than saying this was outrageous. it was stepping up to a new level and interference on social media. he has seemed to down play it at times acknowledging russia's involvement. i think it will be a key part of his confirmation hearing. >> i think v was kind of outraged about the way that the president decided to fire rex
tillerson. everybody kind of agrees and i ask you though just to tie up the two stories. given what you know about the time line, kelly says you plight see a tweet. he cuts his trip short. in the middle of that he makes a statement about russia. he comes out and says what he says. do you a seasons thnse that whad had some bearing or do you think tillerson felt freed up to say what he said about russia? what's the relationship to the kme comment of the firing to you? >> certainly one of the things we have seen. when someone leaves they are much more candid. i moon we saw a level of candor on the part of tillerson either as he was about to leave or had
left. i think i would hope also we'll see that candor going into the future. i mean tillerson will have a lot to talk about. he was in a funny position because i think he alienated the white house. but it would be great to hear him once he leaves about what really happened there. >> so tillerson was in after ray ka trying to clean up a mess for the president. what does it mean for our alliances across the board? >> i think it's stunning. i mean, you know from your history and your father how important these alliances are. not only are we are undermining our critical alliance with the brits, our closest ally you he i
so i don't think he was liberated. i think that he felt he could still stay and force a confrontation but not be fired that way. he had been moving into a space where he was being much more public about the russian threat. >> yes. thank you so much. we'll be watching andrea mitchell reports at noon right here. thank you. >> much more public about the russian threat and he is fire department. >> there you go. no connection there. you can want see it. >> yeah. knows russia well. . up next donald trump's response when fbi district to told them about it back on january 2017. quote it's a shakedown. that's one revolution in a new book about trump and russia.
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against him. the judge appointed by ronald reagan says he poses a threat. he wears two gps tracking bracelets and subject to a 24 hour a day lockdown at his home. democrats say they will continue investigating russia's election meddling despite the conclusion that there was no evidence of collusion with the trump campaign. democrats released their joan stat status claiming it was shout down prematurely. we are also breaking with pel low republicans on the committee. their report says putin but he released a statement saying in part this. based on the everyday russia
disdained and was motivated in whole or in part by desire to harm her candidacy. >> it was also the assessment of the republican that took over for nunez yesterday. he seemed to echo what he said. what else are you going to do when the four come to that same conclusion on capitol hill? joining us now is michael and washington bureau chief. in the fall of 2016 michael first reported that the u.s. intelligence investigation into former trump campaign foreign policy adviser carter page revealed the existence of a former british intelligence officer that would come to be known. now they coauthor a new book entitled russian roulette.
it is great to have you both on board this morning. >> thanks for having us. >> i suppose bob is trying to figure out the question to ask you two. when did this start? what was a genesis of the relationship when trump and putin and this back and forth. >> well, we start at this point. we trace it back to 2013. donald trump wants and does hold miss universe in moscow. it comes after almost 25 years of trump trying to do business deals in moscow. the miss universe contest was his road in. he was savvy enough to know first you team up and then you have to say nice things about putin. there has been a great mystery of why trump keeps saying nice
positive things about putin. it carries through miss universe because he is trying to build a power. that deal fall as apart. while he is telling you on this show positive things about putin he has a secret deal. he is not revealing to anybody about building a tower again if moscow. of course he has to say positive thing about putin. we trace all of this through the book. instead of isolated incidents it is a very striking and some what obvious pattern. >> he is not going to be able to build a tower in moscow and yet he still behaves like a man that is fearful. >> i think at this point i think he teased this earlier in the show, the shakedown scene. we talk about this. it is actually the introduction
to the book, the moment when james comey goes in and hands trump that two-page dossier. this was an orchestrated event, by the way. the intelligence -- james clapper, john brennan, james comey got together before and said how are we going to handle this, we have this explosive material with the allegations, we don't know if it's true but we're afraid it's going to get out there, we're briefing him on the russian election, he didn't really want to hear it, he's push back. then they leave the room, comey stays behind, he says mr. president, we have to give you this. from trump's point of view, it's a shakedown. they're trying to blackmail him. >> from the fbi? >> from the fbi. >> why would the fbi be shaking down donald trump? >> because that's the way donald
trump looks at the world, this is the way his mentor roy cohn looked at the world, this is the kind of thing j. edgar hoover would do. they got something on me, they're trying to get rid of me. >> it sounds paranoid. >> steve bannon thought this was the moment that the seeds were planted for the firing of james comey, which became the most disastrous decision of his presidency. >> what was the most incredulous thing that you uncovered, to you? >> we traced the years that lead up to all this. and we found that in the kremlin there was a secret source who was talking to a u.s. official back in 2014. and telling the u.s. government many things about putin's plans to invade crimea, his attitudes towards obama, how people often
used racist terminology to talk about the president. most important, 2014, he says putin has a gigantic expansive plan, information warfare, krcyr campaign, to attack western institutions and the united states. and there were other indications too that they were doing something like this, like 9/11. there seems to have been a failure of imagination from the u.s. intelligence community. >> congratulations on the book. i want you to focus on more of the sexy stuff. a second ago, isikoff is talking about the comey moment. just the day before that is the obama administration sits down and looks at the steele dossier, right? i want you to tell that story, and what was going on in that room. but also answer the question that a lot of people on the right, the accusation, which is that of course of obama administration had known for months earlier, because this was all they knew about the
counterintelligen counterintelligence, the investigation that comey had launched. so they must have known about the steele dossier and its inception for months and months, back in 2016. >> it was included in president obama's daily brief and he's hearing for the first time about golden shower, january 25th, and he's incredulous, why am i hearing about this, what is this doing in my president's daily brief, how did this happen? he's stunned. a couple of days before joe biden is briefed on the same thing including on the contacts between the trump campaign and the kremlin. he says, look, if this is to a, it's treason. that's a few days before, early january of 2017. so, you know, at that level, they were stunned. yes, the fbi had this counterintelligence investigation going back to july of 2016. they were aware of all these contacts, papadopoulos, carter
page, you know, manafort, going down the list. so too was john brennan who was very alarmed about this. but they were really struggling with what to do. yes, you know, people talk about this having been, you know, the seeds of a poisoned fruit because it was little oppo. there is an element to it. you look at the totality of it, if you're an fbi counterintelligence official and you see all these russian agents trying to penetrate a major political campaign of somebody who could be the next president the united states, you're worried about that. that is the basis for a legitimate counterintelligence investigation. >> but to be clear, you're contention is that although brennan knew about it, he didn't tell obama about it in 2016? >> no, listen, there were lots of talks about what the russians were doing into the election. and there was a lot of back and forth within the obama white house about struggling about
what to do. we talk about that, we have like a lot of new information about how the obama white house, you know, in some respects tied itself in knots trying to figure out what to do. but i think that the contacts with the trump folks didn't become known at the highest level until after the election. >> all right. the book is "russian roulette." michael isikoff, david corn, thank you both. congratulations. >> thank you, guys. appreciate it. when we come backing, breaking news from the uk on their response to russia on the poisoning of a former spy. we'll be right back. that sunday night date night with hbo allllllll night thing. that island without men or children would be nice to visit thing. buy an at&t unlimited plan, and get hbo included. more for your thing that's our thing.
>> wow. >> john heilemann, what has not been predicted by "the simpsons"? >> with respect to the donald trump administration? nothing. you just have to go back to watch "the simpsons" and you'll know what happened and what's going to happen. > > we just learned the uk is now suspending all high level planned bilateral meetings with moscow. theresa may says britain will freeze russian state assets wherever there is evidence of a threat. the prime minister says no british ministers nor the royal family will go to the world cup in russia. also the uk will expel 23 russian diplomats, the biggest expulsion since the cold war. and i wonder what our response will be, given the fact that we are -- >> the cold war is getting a
little hotter today? >> aren't we supposed to support a -- >> we actually should. >> so what will our response be? >> near term and long term implications of what just happened in pennsylvania. near term, it makes conor lamb more competitive in the position of winner for this newly-drawn district in '17. longer term, watch for requirements because these outside groups can't sink $12 million into each of these districts that's competitive, let alone plus 20 republican favored districts like this. >> that's a great point, people. if they want to move on to be lobbyists, i guess, much more effective if they retire than get beaten. >> democrats got to be thrilled about what happened last night. republicans got to be scared. again, i have to come back to this theresa may thing. this new cold war we're in is getting hotter. it will put a lot of pressure, political, geopolitical, and strategic, on the trump administration to respond. >> joe, final thoughts.
>> i believe with heidi on pennsylvania and also with john on russia. and as this continues, and as vladimir putin and russia becomes -- i mean, they become more and more egregious in their actions across the globe and in britain and across the world, at some point donald trump is going to have to step up and be counted. >> he's the president. >> he has not been. >> of the united states. >> it's become more and more obvious that vladimir putin has something on him or else he would be speaking out against this. >> that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks so much, mika, thanks, joe. good morning, everyone. a big old upset in trump country. democrat conor lamb is apparent winner in pennsylvania's crucial special election. warning bells getting lde