tv Morning Joe MSNBC March 15, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT
how handsome? somebody said he really does look good. >> i hear he's nice looking. i think i'm better looking than him. i do. i do. >> personally i like rick saccone. i think he's handsome. >> you say you're on the air and they say i'm looking at a picture of you and they say very handsome. so trumpian. >> clearly the most important factor for a president, congressman or white house economic advisor, no word yet on which handsome devil might replace h.r. mcmaster. >> i think it may be willie. willie is a good looking guy. >> larry is a handsome man. >> you must be eye candy to work in the white house. let's face it. and actually, we've had conversations with him when he's talked about people he's trying to hire and he's like, i like the look. i like the look of that person. >> it is. >> in trump tower i'm staring at him, he's thinking about somebody to be on his foreign
policy team, foreign policy team and he's like, i like the look. the look works. >> during the transition at trump tower he would tell people around him the idea of wanting someone that came out of central casting. >> great. >> that's how rex tillerson got there. >> my god. it's just -- >> one secretary of state nominee or a possibility was too short. >> he's going to go there. >> so he said he couldn't -- he told us he skoucouldn't select even though he was too short. and then of course he could never put bolton at the state department because he said he looked like captain kangaroo. >> he was upset with that mus tash. he goes, i don't get that mustache. it's 2017 -- or '16 it was. >> the crazy part about the first person you're referencing, not only one of those
perspective foreign policy people but one of the most respected people in america but he was too short and slight for the president's taste. >> yeah. >> on behalf of those who are short and slight i don't think it should be disqualifying. >> he had a problem with someone who worked out too much. >> said they were spending their energy the wrong way. >> new details on the flood of white house departures. stop. you always go too far. >> no, it's true. >> we don't need to go into gross details of gross things that he says. >> i'm not interested. as republicans try to brush off a significant loss in pennsylvania, you can't brush that off. >> you can't brush it off. >> so stop trying to brush it off because you look stupid. >> and the wall street journal's front page has new reporting on the deepening story involving stormy daniels. >> there's lots of stormny news. it's stormy, stormy stormy across all the cable networks. this thing is getting ugly. it's going right to the heart of
things. >> when does anderson cooper's 60 minutes thing go on? >> it's sunday. they try to stop it. when they do it they go big. >> stormy daniels attorney was on nicole wallace yesterday. they're still doing some fact checking. it might be the following sunday. >> that's going to be a big one. >> and anderson is building it up. >> stormy, stormy. >> led with stormy? >> it's just -- it's so -- >> it sounds to me like we talked about yesterday from things i've heard and people i've talked to that she may provide more detail than we've previously heard. >> or more detail than we actually want. >> that too. >> physical evidence. >> we just don't. >> at the same time maybe some people need to understand, especially people in the evangelical community that have just gone blind to this president's decisions in life that he lies about. and so this will help show them
the truth and they can maybe perhaps speak more clearly about their opinions. >> just say, willie, that if they're not blind yet. >> they will be blinded. >> they will be blinded. >> they can't unsee it. >> they're in with him. >> most of us will be blind if we see that. i don't want to see that. >> i'm not sure why that evidence exists. who in the world would do that? disgusting. >> now we have former treasury -- she's not with us right now. but we have former treasury official and morning joe stormy daniels analyst, he handled all the things involving the stormy daniels situation in the obama administration. he's got charts on stormy daniels. that is of course steve ratner. >> and nbc news national political reporter and we'll get right to the news then. >> let's do it. since we talk too much.
speaking to campaign donors president trump is claiming the democrat who flipped a republican seat in western pennsylvania as one of his own. an elite recording from a gop fund raising dinner in missouri. first reported by the atlantic and confirmed by nbc news, trump claimed conor lamb supported his agenda. here's part of the audio provided by a republican donor. >> a young man last night that ran, he said oh, i'm like trump. he said, i -- you know, second amendment, all -- everything. i love the tax cuts, everything. you wouldn't have known. i mean, it's a pretty smart race actually. last night the young man also ran on a campaign said very nice things about me. i kept saying is he republican? sounded like a republican to me. >> you know, by the way, mika, a lot of people on -- on tv and conservative radio yesterday were claiming that conor lamb was a conservative who just
basically followed in trump's direction. that's actually -- this is going to shock you, but like the seth ridge story and so many others, that's just not true. >> well, lamb called the republican tax bill a giveaway to the top 1%, supported extended background checks, supports roe versus wade and criticized attempts to repeal obamacare. lamb's opponents spared no expense in reminding voters where he stood. republicans and conservative groups spent 13.3 million on tuesday's special election. outside groups behind the republican candidate vastly outspending the ones that backed lamb with ads that depicted lamb as a liberal and one of nancy pelosi's sheep, but now that he has apparently won the race, republican house members -- >> wait, so who thought -- like who is sitting there putting this commercial together going you know what? that's going to get people in
pennsylvania voting for rick saccone. >> first of all it's treating people in pennsylvania like -- i mean, what are you telling people? >> i'd just remind people yesterday on this show -- on our show, conor lamb called for pelosi to step aside in washington. >> so again it's crazy. they go from saying he's a tool -- a liberal tool of nancy pelosi to saying that he's a republican. and why doesn't he just switch to the republican party the day after he wins. it's ridiculous and said they were with him the whole way. >> mr. lamb was brilliant. he ran as a republican. so it worked for him. he certainly didn't run as a democrat. >> conor lamb ran as someone who would line up with president trump. >> at the end of the day he ran as a republican. >> conor lamb ran as a republican. he was a republican in name so he had a republican in name versus a republican in truth.
>> they ran as conservatives, ran as pro gun, pro life, nancy pelosi conservatives and that's the takeaway we see here. >> if it is truly a wakeup call as we understand you told your members this morning, isn't it also a wakeup call for the role the president should play from your opinion in the upcoming midterm. >> look, i think the president helped close this race. you saw the public polling. the public polling helped close this race to where it got right now within a few hundred votes. >> so jonathan, unless i don't really -- i'm not keeping up with what paul ryan and all those republican house members and everybody else that was talking there, unless i'm not keeping up with where they are idee logically, if conor lamb now shares their views and donald trump's views, then they
now are pro choice, they now support row v wade, paul ryan and all those republicans are now against a 20-week ban on adorg aborti abortion. they're all against the trump tax cuts, and paul ryan and all those republicans and laura ingram, i saw her yesterday saying the same thing and donald trump all believe that the tax cuts are giveaways for the rich. paul ryan and laura ingram and donald trump and all those republicans now actually support obamacare, and are against the giveaways to obamacare. i mean, i could go on. also paul ryan and donald trump and all those other republicans now actually support the aflcio's position on unions and trade. >> it seems like they've thrown away generations of republican
orthodo orthodoxy. >> and it took 24 hours for republicans -- if you believe republicans -- now, they could be lying through their teeth and if they're lying through their teeth then they aren't pro choice and they aren't against the 20-week abortion ban and they aren't for obamacare and they aren't against the tax cuts, but i mean, they're either lying through their teeth or they have changed all their positions in 24 hours. >> they certainly were very well rehearsed on the spin in that video clip. there's no question, this is a loss for the republicans. the spin that we heard there frankly is almost as laughable as the one we're hearing from the white house where they -- the white house spokesman said yesterday and the president kind of hinted at the audio we heard from that fund raiser saying that the republican candidate in pennsylvania was down five or more points before trump showed up for that rally saturday night and brought it into a virtual
dead heat and suggesting that that is sort of a moral victory, but of course moral victories does not change the fact that that seat is in democrat control and there are real questions about what president trump's impact will be as we head toward the midterms. let's remember, this is a district that he won by more than 20 points in 2016. and you know, my wife's family is out from west moreland county. that is trump country. and the fact that there is now a loss here, even a narrow one is worrisome to the white house. >> and silly to spin. >> and white house republicans had their talking point. we laid it out and they almost said the same thing. we heard the talking point two nights ago before the election returns were in. it was president trump to close the gap despite the fact that it had been tightened perhaps of what he did in office for 14 months. the fact of the matter, people i talked to yesterday, there's panic in the republican party over what happened in pennsylvania and what might
happen this fall. >> and that's why you see them spinning this as to try and stop some of these republicans from -- in other races saying hey, maybe it's time to head for the exits. we've already got a record number of retirements, guys, i looked into this, the most in about 90 years in the republican par before a midterm election. and here we are, we've got several republicans now who thought they were in safe seats, who like murphy, the guy who occupied the seat before him didn't even have a democratic challenger now looking around. about a month ago i met with some representatives from mike pence's pack and they were already starting to devise a strategy to calm some of the concerns among these republicans who have frankly never faced a competitive election about how to handle this environment because of the fact of the matter is we're looking at these numbers about 11 million, $10 million sunk in by these
outside groups, there is just not the budget for them to go into all of these races that are in the past not even considered competitive. >> and again, joe, this isn't one of districts that republicans were most worried about heading into the fall. it wasn't in the top 100. >> no, and they shouldn't spin it. they look obviously like they're all lying. it's silly. come on. >> and think about the impact. there are 118 seats that are republican held, that are less friendly to republicans than pennsylvania 18. 18 seats with no incumbents. expect that bottom number to continue to rise because that's actually what happened in 1994, it's what happened in 2006. when incumbents that have been around a while see the wave coming they get out of the way and yesterday, boy, i've got to tell you, this is -- and you're exactly right, jonathan, this is the worst case scenario for republicans.
you've got a district that's been just as red and rock ribbed conservative as could be since 2000 along with the union households, the old post industrial areas. i mean, mika, this -- this is this sort of district that was made for donald trump. >> and this reality that is happening to the republican party right now and this response to this election, republican party is going to become the party of dishonesty and it already is, but they're going into the midterms and they're going to be the party that lies. because they're not -- they're behind this president who lies and they can't even take a loss and look at realistically and perhaps rebuild. >> a lot of people were tweeting this out, heidi, i'm sure you'll tell me i'm wrong, but boy, i would really hope that some republicans at least would look at the results from pennsylvania
18, look at the results from alabama, look at the results from virginia and say, you know what? we're conservative, and we'll support donald trump when he is conservative, but we're going to speak out and we're going to go after him when he says things that are disrespectful to americans. >> but they're not. >> we're in march. there are a lot of republicans that could still save themselves and i am hopeful that they'll start telling the truth and stop repeating the lies that donald trump is spinning out of the white house. >> i don't know that it's -- it may be too late for that, joe. there's been so many incidences. i take you back to charlottesville and that was really considered a crucial moment for choosing in the republican party and you had so many who chose to say nothing because what happened was they made a bargain. they made a bargain that they needed to get this tax cut bill done, that this was the end all and be all to save this party in
the midterm elections and now as you're seeing with this pennsylvania race as a first test case, they themselves acknowledge by pulling back in the advertising that it was not going to save them, that this was not a winning message with those middle class voters. so yes, you may see some republicans continue to be critical and maybe amp up their criticism, folks like ben sass but i don't know how many new defectors you're going to see because they cut that deal a while ago. >> right. when president trump visited the pennsylvania 18 district on saturday night, he talked at length about the tariffs that he had just imposed on steel, but he barely mentioned his signature tax cut legislation. steve ratner says that was likely by design and you have charts to explain why. >> so heidi gave me a great lead in. let's take a look at what's happened. if you look at the ads that were being run by saccone and his
various affiliated groups, you can see that when you go into mid february, early february, really, about 67% of all the ads that ran in that district mentioned the tax cuts as a reason to vote for the republican. and then that went off a cliff and by the time you got to last week there were actually zero mentions of the tax cut. >> can you believe that? so again, for people that have never been in the political campaigns before, you save your best for last. it's like -- it's like a case in the courtroom. you save your best for your closing argument and that last week is your closing argument, and steve, i mean, it's really -- it's got to be demoralizing for paul ryan and the rest of congress and donald trump and everybody who thought that these tax cuts were going to be their -- their salvation, political salvation that they
didn't even mention it. and for good reason. >> it wasn't working and part of how you can see that is in the public polling where the tax cuts were hugely unpopular when they were passed and gradually got more and more popular. they never received a majority of popularity. but right as these ads started to run it turned the other way. there was a poll, i think 50% unpopular. so if you think -- republicans think that is their best calling card they're in for an awakening. >> it's interesting on that as we're looking at these numbers. it's interesting that democrats were concerned when nancy pelosi talked about the tax cuts just giving crumbs to the other 99% and then a poll came out from a pro trump group that actually showed that a plurality of americans agreed with nancy pelosi. that these tax cuts were -- and it certainly -- how much money did warren buffet say these tax
cuts made for him? i mean, just billions. billions of dollars. >> oh, for his company it was half of his profits last year. >> one of the richest men in the world, donald trump goes down to florida and said i just made you guys a lot of money. and americans obviously agree with that. >> the fact data is starting to come out that confirms that point of view. the treasury claimed that 70% of the benefit from the tax cuts were going to go through average americans. the business tax cuts would filter through to workers and now you're seeing day that that shows that's not true. so this is a research study. 43% of the business tax cuts are going back to share buybacks and dividends, not to workers. >> we all said that around this table that most of the money is going to go to stock buybacks. >> 8% to pay down debt and wage increases over here 13.2%
compared to the 70% the treasury was claiming and then to your point about nancy pelosi, about crumbs being left over, let's take a look at what's left over for the average american. those business tax cuts i was just talking about, 31%, people making more than $75,000 a year, 54%, and so for the average american, 16% and so for someone making a typical wage of object 58 or $60,000 a year, that's what they're getting out of this $1.2 trillion tax bill. >> is it fair to say though that it's too early to know what the outcome of the tax cut will be? they were just imz plemented recently. could those opinion polls start to change when they see what's coming in. >> i think people are seeing the benefit in their weekly with holding. that may account for the polls going the other way.
i think the best hope for the tax cuts is that they have -- get the economy to continue to do well. we had a very good jobs number on friday and people stay optimistic about the republicans. that's the best hope i think for the republicans out of these tax cuts. i don't think they're going to sell them as a great middle class tax cut the way they claim they were during the campaign. >> jonathan, during the campaign they didn't talk about the tax cuts. but donald trump did talk about tariffs and last night in -- last night we're going to be playing the audio tape from the fund raiser he had last night where he's going full on protectionist. he brags about making up facts with the prime minister of canada, and the facts that he made up actually the way he told the story last night was he said that he ended up being direct. no, he did not. he ended up -- i mean, but this president, again, i -- maybe
paul ryan and everybody else talking about conor lamb maybe they're talking about donald trump, the protectionist. >> right. i mean if the tax cuts are going to be this much unpopular, think about the capital they're going to be sold out on this the end of last year. we heard such talk about they needed a win and they get one and now they're running away from it if this trend holds which gives them very little to run on come this november which is worrisome. and protectionists and tariffs, that's a harder sell. let's go back to that pennsylvania district. they thought the tariffs would be a popular issue there. but those are the kind of -- the jobs, the iron jobs, the steel jobs, the coal jobs in that district, those workers would be like yes, that's what we want but the republicans are still handed a loss. >> a district that they usually win by 20 points. >> they lost this for a lot of reasons. >> still ahead on morning joe we'll play more of that audio
are if the president's fund raiser that he tells the crowd that he simply made up about a claim in a meeting with justin trudeau. >> and a new link between the trump organization and efforts to keep former adult film star stormy daniels silent. now daniels lawyer said more women are coming forward as well. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. at&t gives you more for your thing. your me-time thing. 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. bp is taking safety glasses
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. at last night's fund raiser, president trump privately claimed to republican donors that he made up information while discussing trade with canadian prime minister justin trudeau. >> trudeau came to see me, he's a good guy, justin. he said no, no, we have no trade deficit for you, we have none.
donald, please, nice guy, good looking guy comes in, donald we have no trade deficit. he was very proud because everybody else was getting killed with it. so i said justin, you do. i didn't even know. josh, i had no idea. i just said you're wrong. you're wrong because it was so stupid. and i thought it was wrong. i said you're wrong, justin. we have no trade -- i said well in that case i feel differently but i don't believe it. i sent one of our guys out. they went out, said check. well, sir, you're actually right. we have no deficit, but that doesn't include energy and timber. now, when you do lose $17 billion a year, it's incredible. >> it is incredible. it's a funny story, but it is a lie. >> so as the washington post points out, the office of the
united states trade representative says the united states has a trade surplus with canada. >> so what he did, willie, and i of course am the last person to criticize somebody's math skills. >> because he went to university of alabama. and there you're only counted number one. >> thank you for finishing my jokes. >> it's almost like you heard that before, mika. >> never. >> roll tide. >> but -- so yes, there is the $17 billion deficit with canada when you include energy and timber, but there's like a 21 or $22 billion surplus when you add on everything else, so we actually do have a trade surplus with canada, so justin trudeau -- it hurts me to say this. mr. boxer. >> but he's so masculine.
he's talking about justin obviously. it hurts me to say this, but justin trudeau was right. >> i think that was a british accent? >> that was shaky. >> justin trudeau was right. >> so anyway -- >> be nice to justin. >> it hurts me to say it, but justin trudeau was right. it doesn't hurt me to say it, donald trump was wrong. he was making up a story and then he told these people last night -- >> what else is new? >> i didn't even know, when i sent them out and came back out they said you're right sir. nobody said that because it's just not the truth. he was lying last night, what a surprise to his contributors. >> and it shows how casually he did it. it was a flippant one off story where the fundamental conversation was based on something that wasn't true at the highest possible levels between two heads of state. he's -- for a guy who claims fake news about five, six times
a day, that's really important to tell the truth, to have your facts right when you're talking to another head of state and you're the president of the united states. >> he's a big picture guy. he doesn't dwell in the facts but yet a normal person would say okay, i made a mistake and you fix it. >> or they wouldn't say that in this first place. >> speaking of not telling the truth -- >> on this, the other point it's not just the fact that it's a lie, that his shaky relationship with the truth, it's going in so unprepared to a meeting with a head of state and tariffs is one subject but other foreign policy issues with north korea looming is another. to have to be the one, you know, to be the president of the united states to misrepresent yourself and to be just winging it in a meeting at the head of state, that's also really troubling. >> it's unimaginable that he reads a briefing book. it's unimaginable that he goes into these meetings. >> but this is a guy who doesn't sign contracts. >> okay. think about the top two stories so far that we've mentioned today. you have donald trump and the
republican party lying about conor lamb, saying that he's actually a republican when he is pro choice, he opposes a ban on abortion after 20 weeks which i -- just about every conservative i know supports that. i mean, he opposed the trump tax cuts. he opposed the gutting of obamacare. you name it, conor lamb, i mean, is a down the middle democrat. but they lied about that. and now we have this meeting with the canadian prime minister who has this strange british accent and now mika, we go to a third story in a row where once again, the president, the people around him are lying. >> and it really should crystallize to people as we watch this unfold that he does not tell the truth. here is the latest in the scandal involving porn star stormy daniels. we've learned that a jill a. martin, a top lawyer for the
trump organization signed legal papers three weeks ago that were intended to keep the former porn star whose real name is stephanie clifford quiet about her alleged affair with donald trump. the white house denies the allegations but according to clifford's lawyer it's another piece of evidence that proves trump knew about the nondisclosure agreement and the $130,000 hush money payment from trump's lawyer michael cohen. the trump organization released a statement to nbc news saying quote, the trump organization is not representing anyone and with the exception of one of its california based attorneys in her individual capacity facilitating the initial filing, the company has had no involvement in the matter. wait a minute. >> first off -- so willie, michael cohen, hasn't exactly covered his footprints. >> this is so gross.
>> he's not -- >> never use the company e-mail when paying off a porn star, i find. >> if you're going to california, they've got a few lawyers in california. don't go straight to the one that works for the trump organization. this guy would not be used like as a lawyer in the bourne identity to cover people's tracks. >> among the many reasons this is interesting is because cohen's argument has been yes, i paid $130,000 to stormy daniels but it was directed by no one. it came from me. but if you have a trump organization attorney signing on to a document keeping her from talking about it. >> she does have a voice which she wants to use and apparently did on 60 minutes. a july 12th hearing has been set for clifford's lawsuit aimed at dissolving the nondisclosure agreement so she can speak freely. >> you are now in the line of work of defending women who have
had sexual relationships with the president that he'd like to keep quiet. have more women come to you? >> yes. >> how many? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> dozens? >> not a dozen. >> not a dozen. more than five? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> bigger than a bread box? >> do they have -- >> hi eidi, republicans on capil hill are looking at all these election losses, they're looking at the mueller investigation moving on. they're now looking at this story unfolding. and you say that they're just fine with it, there's not a rising sense of panic on the hill? >> i didn't say there wasn't a rising sense of panic. i just said i didn't know that it was going to cause a course correction in terms of how they present themselves or what they say about the president. >> isn't that remarkable though, heidi? >> i'm confused.
what will it take? >> they are the captain of the titanic. they know the iceberg is straight ahead of them. they know they're going to get routed this fall if there's not a course correction and i'm serious. i was genuinely thinking about this all day yesterday going, what is going through paul ryan's mind? what is going through mitch mcconnell's mind? are they really just playing to their contributors? are they really just playing to the richest republican donors out there and saying, we're going to give them their tax cuts and then we're going to repeal dodd frank. we're going to do all these things. it's almost like they're saying we nonan si peloknow nancy peloo be speaker in the fall so we'll give our donors everything they need. >> i do think they all bought a tuck et on the uss trump and it was all up to all of them to keep it afloat. now that you're seeing holes poked in the ship and folks
starting to see that fit's sinking potentially, that there's a huge wave coming, you know, there is definitely panic, but at the same time they are on the record in some of the most controversial statements that this president has said. their silence is on the record. and so maybe if there is additional information that comes out of the mueller investigation that would be the only thing, joe, that i would think in terms of if there's conclusive evidence of obstruction, conclusive evidence of collusion, that maybe they would be forced to make that break, but look what you just saw this week with the house intelligence committee essentially shutting down the investigation. that is members again putting themselves on the record in quite a public way that they don't want to know and that they're willing to take that risk that they look silly when the evidence comes out. >> i've never seen a larger group of self-destructive suckups. like, what -- what good is going
to come out of -- i -- i -- how does this help them? >> again, that's what i was trying to figure out all day yesterday. i don't understand it because jonathan, there's this -- there's a huge, huge highway just right down the middle of american politics for a republican saying, i'm a conservative. >> a good man or a good woman. >> hold on. i was about to do a speech. mika interrupted me. >> is it that british accent again? >> i was a conservative with -- go ahead. >> i am a conservative. i was a conservative when donald trump was contributing to chuck schumer and nancy pelosi and the dnc. i was pro life when donald trump was for late term abortions. i was with the nra when donald trump was talking about banning guns. i have been with this republican party while donald trump has
been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat conservative candidates and i am still a conservative. if donald trump decides he wants to be conservative, then i will vote with him. if he doesn't, i will fight day and night to protect conservative values, to protect republican values and to be with you, my constituents who i promised i would go to washington and be your conservative voice. there is such a massive lane for that speech. there are opportunities every day for men and women of the republican party to step up and be leaders of the new republican party when it all comes crashing down this fall. why won't one person do it? >> and the only republicans that have stood up, they're leaving. they're ones who have announced their retirement. those are the ones who said they're not running again, because they are still -- they fear that trump is more popular
in the districts than they are. they're afraid of his twitter account. they won't challenge him. >> if they are afraid of twitter, steve, then they don't deserve to have a congressional vote. >> they're also afraid of being primaried and having trump support their opponent. >> there's been a lot of talk about where i have been on gun rights and the nra supporting. the nra was against me my first campaign and i -- i won with 62% of the vote. guess what? they never crossed me again. because guess how weak i made the nra look in my district sf it's the same something with trump. if conservatives start crossing trump, and he tries to primary one of them and they win, guess what happens? they look weak. we ran newt gingrich out of town. i stayed after newt gingrich just like i stayed after bill clinton. guess what? they came after me one time. i got 62% of the vote, they never came after me again.
again, i'm not making this about me. i'm using this as an illustration. i could make illustrations about when i was a football coach or when i wrote musicals, that probably wouldn't -- because people are like why are you always talking about winning in congress? i know they can cross you one time and if they don't beat you, then they look really weak. so i think this fear is so overrated. somebody needs -- a conservative needs to start separating themselves from donald trump. and save the conservative movement and save the republican party. it's going down this fall, and when the dust settles people are going to look back and say okay, who stayed the course while everybody else was chasing after and defending donald trump? >> you'd have to have foresight. as you said, the iceberg is coming. so why are you afraid of being primaried? the whole thing is going down anyway. the republican party does not exist right now.
coming up, former deputy fbi director is set to retire with pension on sunday. but will the president fire him before then and deny him that pension? we'll explain that story ahead. hey. pass please. i'm here to fix the elevator. nothing's wrong with the elevator. right. but you want to fix it. right. so who sent you? new guy. what new guy? watson. my analysis of sensor and maintenance data indicates elevator 3 will malfunction in 2 days. there you go. you still need a pass.
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we rev lea've learned a lot morning. we've learned that donald trump lied about trade to canadian prime minister. we learned that he lied along with republicans about conor lamb's positions on abortion and i mean, you name it and also we learned that justin trudeau speaks a lot like -- sounds a lot like teresa may. >> your justin trudeau impersonation sounded a lot like a woman. >> they love justin. >> it's a little theresa may meets julia child. >> apologies to the prime minister. >> still ahead, when saudi arabia's crown prince -- >> did you see him box?
>> that's when the voice started. >> and the wife was -- >> after that match. >> he was so tough. i was a little worried. the guy -- it was a setup. >> he had some photo op. >> he god at all bloodied up. >> he does like to kay yak shirtless. >> he does instagram like one arm pushups and stuff like that. >> okay, joe, be nice to justin. >> what's that? >> when saudi arabia's crown prince visits the white house next week he'll be celebrated as a reformer who's expanded women's rights. but for at least one saudi woman that's not the case. carol lee has exclusive reporting on that. she joins us next to explain.
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next week when he'll be hosted by president trump at the white house on tuesday as part of a multistate trip to the nation's capital, new york, and boston. while the crown prince is heralded for expanding women's rights in the restrictive country, nbc's carol lee has new reporting out this morning on at least one saudi woman who has not benefited from his rise -- his own mother. national political reporter for nbc news carol lee joins us now with that. carol? >> good morning. well, mika, we've done a bunch of reporting ahead of the crown prince's visit and what we've learned is from more than a dozen current and former u.s. officials is about this early power move they said that u.s. intelligence shows he made by taking action against his mother. essentially blocking his mother from seeing his father, the king, without telling the father. so deceiving the king about this, creating various stories to account for her absence over the last several years, at some
where he took this action against his mother as just an example of that. >> why would the crown prince keep his mother away? your report says once he placed her under house arrest so she couldn't see her own husband. why would he do it? >> a number of officials said at some period of time she was under house arrest and they believe he did this because he felt that she was not on board with his plans for a power grab that would sort of divide the royal family potentially and she was very influential with his father and she might use her influence to block him from basically becoming the next heir to the throne. and i have to say, this is based on u.s. intelligence both intercepts. there's an instance where in 2016 u.s. intelligence picked up the crown prince talking about his moves to try to keep his mother away from his father and
to keep his father from knowing he was doing that. there's human intelligence that they've gathered on this and then there's intelligence from other countries is it's been a body of intelligence that's been gathered over the last several years. >> interesting. nbc's carol lee, thank you very much. you can read carol's new report at nbcnews.com. thank you, carol. >> thank you. still ahead, u.n. ambassador nikki haley has condemned russia over that spy poisoning in britain. but is the president ready to go that far? >> no. plus, the limits of trumpism even in trump country. the "washington post" robert costa joins us with this new reporting. we'll be right back.
federal, state, and local authorities have been protecting those prototypes with fences, concrete barriers and security cameras in that order coming straight the trump administration. >> okay, now [ bleep ] has gone too far. trump's now building a wall to protect his wall? that doesn't even make sense. the wall is the protection. that's like having a bodyguard for the secret service like no, mr. president, no, gary! like what a time to be alive. the wall has its own wall and the president has his own president. this is insane. [ laughter ] >> wow. welcome back to "morning joe." it's the top of the hour on this thursday, march 15.
with us we have former treasury official steve rattner, white house reporter for the associated press jonathan lemire, nbc news national political reporter heidi przybyla, and joining the conversation, political reporter for the "washington post" and msnbc political analyst robert costa, he is the moderator of "washington week" on pbs. >> we're going right now to istanbul and our stormy daniels desk. let's go to willie geist. a lot of people tweeting me this morning asking the question. by the way, the building behind you in istanbul looks like the turkish capitol. they're saying joe, what does stormy daniels' estranged mother think of the brouhaha. >> there's breaking news on that this morning. >> well, stormy daniels' estranged mother sheila gregory gave an interview to the "dallas morning news" and she sides, in this argument, with president trump. >> really? >> she's disappointed in her
daughter and she says that if president trump ran for president four times she'd vote for him four times. so stormy's mom, team trump. >> who are you looking at willie? >> one of my colleagues in istanbul in the capital. my congressional colleagues. >> when did you get that -- >> "dallas morning news." she's in baton rouge, louisiana. spent the day with her, did a big interview and she says disappointed in her daughter. >> well, there's a not of lose to come with stormy daniels because she did a big interview with "60 minutes" which trump people are trying to block. we've also learned that jill a. martin, a top lawyer with the trump administration, signed legal papers three weeks ago that were intended to keep the former porn star -- whose real name is stephanie clifford -- quiet about an alleged affair with donald trump. the white house denies the allegations but according to clifford's lawyer, it's another piece of evidence that proves
trump knew about the non-disclosure agreement and the $130,000 hush money payment from trump's lawyer michael cohen. the trump organization released a statement to nbc news saying, quote, the trump organization is not representing anyone and with the exception of one of its california-based attorneys in her individual capacity facilitating the initial filing the company has had no involvement in the matter. >> and like we were saying before, you could have gone to just about any attorney in california, but he decided michael cohen, the inspector clouseau of the legal ranks goes to the trump organization. >> trump organization. he said he made this payment unilaterally, he just wrote a check, he admit he is paid, said there was no connection to the trump organization or donald trump at all except you have a trump organization attorney as one of the signatories to the document. >> and that's what she's saying, too, she did it in her
individual capacity. so now we're to believe two different trump organization lawyers acted on their own, two different lawyers -- >> randomly. >> two different lawyers with ties to donald trump acted on their own to cover this up. >> the whole thing is beyond ridiculous. my lawyers, i think, love me, would do anything for me, but spend $130,000 of their own money? come on. >> can the "60 minutes" piece be stopped? >> no. >> no. prior restraint. the court won't stop it. >> what cbs news is doing is journalism. they're not slow-rolling this because they're worried about what donald trump might do. they're reporting the story. they're taking the claims she made in an interview to anderson cooper and they're checking on them. you do that if you're "60 minutes" or "morning joe" or somebody else. >> she potentially has liability because she has a non-disclosure agreement. >> apparently he didn't sign it. >> that's her argument. >> and also that's between donald trump and michael cohen
and stormy daniels, that's not between donald trump and "60 minutes" or stormy daniels in "60 minutes" so "60 minutes" is free to run with this piece wherever they want to. i'm going to go to bob costa. donald trump is training conor lamb is this trumpian democrat, one of his own. in a leaked recording from gop fund raiser in missouri that we played earlier, bob, he's cla claiming that conor lamb was talking about how he liked trump and he is like trump but we went through the litany before. let's play -- i'll you what, bob, we'll play a quick clip of the audio and get your response. >> the young man last night that ran, he said oh, i'm like trump. he said, you know, second amendment, everything. i love the tax cuts, everything. you wouldn't have known. i mean, it's a pretty smart race, actually. last night, the young man also
he ran on a campaign said very nice things about me. i kept saying is he a republican? sounded like a republican to me. >> we've added a trillion and a half dollars to our national debt. we didn't need to add a penny to our debt to have the tax cut for our working and middle-class people. we now know that 85%, 90% of that trillion and a half dollars went to the 1%, people who earn $700,000, $800,000 a year, into our largest corporations. it was a giveaway. my opponent and i both support the second amendment but he's called for the elimination of the background check system in pennsylvania, i support universal background checks. we need to look at putting the teeth in the affordable care act so people have health care they can afford. i support a woman's right to choose under the law even though i'm a catholic and i personally oppose abortion. i support medical marijuana. i will refuse to allow that cut to our medicaid program. this is the proposed budget that the white house has sent to congress and it is awaiting a vote. i will vote against that.
>> sounds like a pretty hard core democrat and yet paul ryan and a lot of other republicans on capitol hill were talking about how this guy was a conservative. >> conor lamb ran as a moderate democrat but a democrat nonetheless. there's no question about that. he ran against house minority leader nancy pelosi, said he would not vote for her in the a leadership contest but what's unsettling to republicans is that rick saccone, the republican who was defeated, he ran as someone who embraced the trump image, who embraced the trump message and he was not able to survive in a district the president won by 20 percentage points two years ago so as republicans look to survive a possible midterm storm, they're wondering will the president be enough to get them over the finish line. >> and rick saccone is also a candidate that bragged about being trump before there was trump. >> that's right. i think one of the most
important observations here, joe, is that there is a shade of gray to this argument that conor lamb ran on some trump issues. he co-opted the authentic version of what trump sold on the campaign trail. what trump sold on the campaign trail in terms of his populist economic agenda is not how he's governed so the danger for all republicans is that this working class support for president trump has shown to be very shallow, when you have a democrat come into an area where, by the way, there's still more people in this district registered as democrats to make that populist economic argument. you saw the clips on how conor lamb ran against the tax cuts. he took people back to those issues trump promised on the campaign trail, medicare and social security and stayed focused on those economic issues
versus the cultural issues. that's a warning sign for all republicans that this trump working class support is in fact shallow. >> and the fact that conor lamb was not nancy pelosi, which is what we said yesterday, does not make him donald trump. he supports the second amendment, he owns an ar-15 but he believes it ought to be more difficult to get one. expand background checks which is popular with republicans as well. it's popular with the nra. it's a common-sense position. he's personally against abortion but he supports the supreme court rulings on it. he's against a ban against 20 week sborgs the poiabortion. he was in line with his district because he was not all the way to the left with nancy pelosi and other democrats but that doesn't make him donald trump. he was not, in fact, in line with donald trump's view of the world. >> and bob i'm wondering, i've been asking the question to myself all day yesterday and we've been talking about it this morning, any evidence that there are any republicans on capitol hill who see this massive
political train wreck coming that are willing to do anything about it and start separating themselves from the most toxic parts of trumpism. >> you're already starting to see the ramifications of what happened in southwestern pennsylvania. just go across the state to the philadelphia suburbs and you see ryan costello, a young republican, moderate republican there, he's now considering perhaps retiring. he has not made a decision, he's a rising star inside of the house gop. if you see someone like a ryan costello in philadelphia area decide not to run for reelection now in the wake of what happened in the pittsburgh suburbs, that's a sign republicans don't feel the tax cuts or president trump are enough to help them win. >> i think most people looking at ryan costello's race in the suburbs of philly think he's in big trouble. >> yeah. the polling suggests he is. that's such a key part of the
country in 2016 where trump did all right in those philadelphia suburbs that were seen as so important to him winning pennsylvania. pennsylvania obviously a really important piece of electoral map for republicans. the white house is not suggesting that they're going take their foot off the gas. trump is trying to make these midterms about trump. the political office is planning to have an aggressive schedule out there. trump wants to be out there holding rallies across the country tied to these midterms but the question will be will those rallies be about the republican congressional candidates or will they be about donald trump. the one we saw last week in pennsylvania was about donald trump. >> look at the one in pensacola that was supposed tonight roy moore, it was about donald trump. >> that's a pattern we see over time. >> i want to say one thing from the democratic side and from what i'm hearing in the democratic side. democrats can't let -- can't sit back. it's not going to be a smooth slide to a majority and the
thing they have to worry about are primaries. conor lamb didn't have a primary because it was a special election so they were able to pick a moderate candidate. when you look around the country, district after district, there are five, six, seven democrats in these primaries doing two things, bashing each other's brains out and sending a lot of money and running the risk they don't nominate moderates. so i think democrats need to focus on this and make sure they have the right slate of candidates out there. >> as we heard, that's a real problem in california. there's a possibility you have the top two and there's a possibility that democrats wipe each other out and you have a republican -- >> they landed on a smart candidate in this district in pennsylvania. they need to find that -- >> in illinois there's a sitting democrat being primaried, dianne feinstein is being primaried from the left. democrats have to be care. insanity. >> bob costa, there are reports that larry kudlow is headed to
the white house. what do you know about that? >> the long time cnbc comment e commentator has had a rapport with president trump going back decades. they've mingled in the same social and political circles in the conservative wing of the manhattan political world. he is now going to join the white house at age 70. a supply-side economic analyst for years. he does not necessarily mesh with the president on trade yet because of that personal relationship he is going to come in and be a salesman for the tax cut. >> and he's accepted this so he's -- this is in. this is confirmed. >> and larry kudlow, again, economically not your cup of tea but he certainly is not a -- he's not a peter navarro. this is a guy that worked -- >> that is setting a low bar. >> well, no -- >> oh, wow. oh, wow. >> i'm saying larry is a mainstream conservative, most conservatives cheered his appointment yesterday.
he worked in the reagan administration and he's straight out of the jack kemp school of economics. >> that's right. i met larry kudlow in 1981 when he was chief economist at omb and he's drunk the supply-side kool-aid, arthur laffer, jack kemp. but it won't get our trillion dollar deficit down. >> he's been very critical of the president on tariffs. when the president made that announcement, larry kudlow was on twitter going after him hard. larry said when the phone rang friday night and it was from the president's office, he assumed the president was calling to ream him out about his criticism and it was to begin the process of offering him the job. >> and we have a tweet. >> on cue the president tweeted about larry kudlow saying, larry kudlow will be my chief economic adviser. our country will have many years of great economic and financial success with low taxes, unparalleled innovation, fair trade and an ever-expanding labor force leading the
way, #maga. >> i think most conservatives will cheer this move. >> there is the prospect of massive turnover at the white house in the coming weeks. can we see? what's to turn over? anonymous white house sources described to fox news as a quote bloodbath that could begin as early as today. >> i think it began already. >> wait, who's left? among the first expected to go, national security adviser h.r. mcmaster. that's according to multiple reports. >> and we also, of course, had nicolle wallace saying that a couple weeks ago. >> first named by nbc news. unnamed sources tell "vanity fair" that trump is furious that mcmaster was speaking privately with barack obama's former national security adviser susan rice. >> why would you be furious about that? you want -- i know that when the president spoke with barack obama he actually enjoyed the
conversation very much. >> isn't it insightful to hear from -- >> and he said he liked the guy. >> weird. >> even if you disagree with susan rice, you want to -- >> it's odd to get fired for doing your job the right way. >> well, this is a whole new white house. >> one of the complaints mika and i heard in the foreign policy community about rex tillerson was that he rarely called former secretaries of state, he rarely tried to get input on how to make the state department run more efficiently and so here you have the president angry that he's doing his job. >> sources said the president shared his frustration with mcmaster to former u.n. ambassador john bolton, seen as the likely replacement according to fox. the veterans affairs secretary, according to fox, is on the
chopping block as well though energy secretary rick perry denied an associated press report that he is in discussions to replace him. >> let us say wherever rick perry is going, we're for him. we are for him. we love rick perry, right? >> while fox also reports that john kelly could soon be leaving his post as chief of staff. as for attorney general jeff sessions, two republicans in regular contact with the white house tell "vanity fair" there are talks of putting epa administrator scott pruitt in his position. oh, good god. >> also "vanity fair" reports the president is adamant about getting jared kushner and ivanka trump out of there and back to new york. a friend of the president saying, quote, he thinks that i've been getting hit too hard. bob costa, it's interesting over the past several day, people have been making these reports, this is who the next cia director will be, this is who the next secretary of state will be, this is who the next
attorney general will be. and so many of these reports, forget the fact that they have to get 50 votes in the united states senate and john mccain won't be there. so if they lose rand paul, as they have, rand paul claims, on state and the cia, suddenly you're looking at a real uphill fight. >> an important point, joe, as we hear all these stories coming out of the west wing. i've been calling people on capitol hill saying what's the actual outlook for a confirmation and they say senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, knowing he only has a two-seat majority in the senate months ahead of the midterm elections is telling people he's not eager to have a major confirmation battle for a controversial nominee aligned with president trump at this moment yet the president, it is true based on my reporting that he is agitating to make these changes. congressional republicans are saying take a pause, maybe if you make a move on something like larry kudlow that doesn't
need senate confirmation or national security adviser doesn't need senate confirmation, that's different than making a move on the cabinet. >> and also heidi, hell freezes over before scott pruitt with his -- the problems with his short tenure at the epa,ing hell freezes over before the senate alou allows him to become attorney general and allows him to fire bob mueller and launching a constitutional crisis to end the trump presidency. i just said that, firing bob mueller will launch a constitutional crisis that will expedite the ending of the trump presidency. >> of all of the potential exits, jeff sessions is the most problematic because it would raise immediate alarm bells with what's going on with the investigation. if you see a thread in the replacements in the ousters that are taking place, it is trump basically throwing aside advice from kelly, throwing aside the
restraints that have been put on him and putting into place people he feels for one way or another are loyalists and certainly if pruitt were to be put into place or if he were to propose pruitt be put into this position, there would be hair on fire on capitol hill. there would be very, very contentious confirmation hearings so i think just the firing of sessions period would create a firestorm by let alone have scott pruitt to be nominated in that position. >> so jeff sessions' firing is the most problematic, steve. but let me ask you generally, i saw a lot of lower thirds on cable news channels saying donald trump angry and moving to get loyalists in place in the cabinet and looking at that -- again, other than jeff sessions,
what's wrong with the president getting cabinet members who agree with him and will do what he wants him to execute? i mean, that's -- after all, he was elected president of the united states and if he makes a lot of bad choices, the bloodbath will not be the firing of these staff members, the bloodbath will come at the polls in november. >> you can certainly surround yourself and should with people you're compatible with, that you get along with, that you have a good exchange of views but no president in his right mind wants to surround himself with yes men or yes women. you want people who will push back and have their own point of views. >> i would suggest barack obama had a lot of yes men around him. a lot of -- george w. bush had a lot of yes men around him. he went into iraq and refused to even ask colin powell whether he should go into iraq because he said he knew powell was against it. >> but in the bush administration there were furious arguments about what to do about a range of issues. they had lively debates and the
dick cheney hard line wing. i'll tell you a story that i heard. obama, as you mentioned earlier, had one meeting with trump and apparently at that meeting trump said to obama "you were so lucky to have eric holder protecting you when he was your attorney general." >> he doesn't get it. >> and barack obama said, "eric holder wasn't there to protect me, he was there to run the justice department and protect the american people. i had my own flaur tlawyer in te house to protect me." so trump has a whole different view of how the government works. >> i would argue this is different. he wants yes men around him who won't stand up to racism, who won't stand up to lies. i think this is a whole new ball game and it is disturbing. >> of course it's disturbing, mika. >> there's no parallel. >> there's no parallel. i was talking generally about yes men in the white house. there's a long rich history of having yes men in the white house. and jonathan, it's not like they aren't having -- i never sat here defending donald trump as president of the united states
but they have some pretty heated fights. they have had heated fights in the white house up to this point, have they not? >> sure, that's part of his managerial styles. he brings in two aides with very different views and has them fight out in front of him. on tariff is a great example where he had peter navarro and gary cohn. trump had his own views but he wanted to see that exchange. we're seeing a moment where we expect a lot of change. tillerson said it's probably the first shoe to drop in the next week or two, whether it be mcmaster. there's a great insecurity in the cabinet, shulkin, ben carson, zinke, you go down the list, there are a number of people whose grasps on their jobs are tenuous. >> with barack obama, i think on foreign policy, i don't know that it was so much yes men by the end or the fact that he just cut everybody out. that was the complaint from the forbe policy community that it was barack obama and two people making all decisions on foreign
policy and everybody else was cut out. >> robert costa, thank you very much for being on this morning. >> thank you, bob. still ahead on "morning joe," nikki haley leaves no daylight between the u.s. and the uk when it comes to british claims that russia poisoned a former spy. we'll show you what she had to say at the u.n. and as we go to break, thousands of students from across the country marched out of their schools yesterday to mark exactly one month since the deadly shooting in parkland, florida. here's what some of them had to say. >> this is so much more important to me than any sort of school discipline. >> why is it so important? >> these are lives at stake. this is too important not to be a part of. >> we're asking for fewer words and more action, that's what we're asking. >> what's going on in schools is not okay. there needs to be change. i shouldn't be afraid to walk into school. my peers shouldn't be afraid to
walk into school and little kids shouldn't be afraid, either. school should be a safe place rather than a war zone. >> we're tired of sitting in class worrying about is it going to be me, is it going to be my little sister? >> we will not ignore the fact that gun violence is a public health crisis as it is the leading cause of premature death in the united states. >> we won't tolerate being scared to come into school. we won't tolerate having to stay out of school because we're scared. it has to change. we can't be hunted. you can't predict the market, but through good times and bad
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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. we're here to discus the use of a chemical weapon by one council member in the territory of another member. let me say, the united states stands in solidarity with great britain. the united states believes russia is responsible for the attack on two people using a
military grade nerve agent. russia is a permanent member of the security council. it is entrusted in the united nations' charter with upholding international peace and secur y security. it must account for its objections. if we don't take immediate concrete measures to address this now, salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used. this is a defining moment. time and time again member states say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance now one member stands accused of using chemical weapons on the sovereign soil of another member. the credibility of this council will not survive if we fail to hold russia accountable. >> okay then. >> wow. >> that's about as direct as it gets. >> u.s. ambassador nikki haley took direct aim at russia using a toxic nerve agent.
in a statement the white house says it supports the series of actions against russia that prime minister theresa may outlined yesterday and that the united states agrees russia is responsible for "abhorrent attack." adding, quote, fits into a pattern of behavior in which russia disregards the international rules based orders, undermines the sovereignty and security and attempts to discredit western institutions and processes. that's from the white house. joining us, russian journalist and author of the book "all the kremlin's men, inside the court of vladimir putin" mikail zeiger. also with us, nbc news national security analyst jeremy bash. mikail, let me start with you, any question in your mind this was an act from the russian government, the attack on the former spy in the uk. >> it's hard to say. it's hard to say apart from everything that has been said by
theresa may and all british experts. the first thing that comes to mind is western media say vladimir putin is a genius player, something like a chess player who knows what he's going do. in that sense, that's total nonsense. that's the worst timing for anything that could have been ordered by vladimir putin. probably this was an operation organized by russian intelligence or by people associated with russian intelligence but that shows -- that's the worst timing ever. one week before the russian presidential elections, we know the results. vladimir putin is pretty sure that he's not risking anything
but that's not the best time to start that. that's not a cold war now. that's something that looks much more scary. >> it's interesting what mikhail just said, 1r57d is made out to be some dr. evil type character who is always 12 steps ahead and yet he fumbled the french elections badly, angered macron and has done the same in germany. he's made a number of moves that are shortsighted and at the end of the di interference in the u.s. elections ended up backfiring terribly on him and here we have nikki haley speaking out about as strongly as any u.s. representative could
and followed up by the white house saying basically the same thing. >> the fact that putin's move may not be smart from our perspective of logic doesn't mean he isn't responsible and i think by the account put forward by nikki haley, clearly russia was responsible and i believe putin as a former kgb officer would have known about and directed an operation to go after skripal. >> the timing just couldn't have been worse. why? >> i think -- this is part of a long-running effort by russian intel zwroeps go after this individual and i want to put in context who he is. he's somebody the united states of america helped win his freedom in 2010 when we swapped him for four individuals who had been engaged in espionage activities and this was
embarrassing to russians intelligence they have been going after these individuals and this wasn't a u.s. intelligence asset or mi6 asset we secreted out of the country. this was a spy swap and there is no honor in this move. this crosses a huge red line. this is a brazen attack and something putin needs to be responsible for. >> mikhail, the argument is vladimir putin is so emboldened, he's seen so little pushback from the president of the united states that he doesn't worry about doing something like he's alleged to have done in the uk. >> i know do not contradict the idea that in a way russian apparatus is responsible. they have never confirmed that but we've heard russian state television claiming that's the
lesson for all the traitors and all the people who have betrayed russia will know they cannot hide in the united kingdom so that's not an official confirmation but that's -- >> but using it as a threat. >> that's the message, yeah. so that is indirect confirmation but on the other hand we probably -- i guess that for example something like three years ago or two years -- a year ago somebody or even president putin could have said do something about that guy, we need to probably that could be some kind of indirect response to what mr. rochenkov is saying. he is the number one person most hated by ex-kgb officers so they
cannot get through to him but that could be assigned to everyone who would like to follow his footsteps but okay, skripal as substitute. >> jeremy bash, what's the appropriate u.s. response especially in light of what nikki haley had to say in support of our ally? >> i think the ambassador struck the right note. she was very forceful. she talked about going after our ally the uk. it's in sharp contrast to the deafening silence from the president on this issue and the president does not want to criticize vladimir putin at all but for that statement released by sarah huckabee sanders, you would have heard nothing where from the white house. that shows we are abandoning our key allies in nato mikhail zygar, jeremy bash, thank you. coming up back in december
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former fbi deputy director andrew mccabe is facing a possible firing just days before he's scheduled to retire. the "new york times" was first to report that attorney general jeff sessions is reviewing the office of professional responsibility to fire mccabe. this follows an internal review from the doj inspector general examining mccabe's 2016 decision to allow fbi officials to speak with reporters about an investigation into the clinton foundation. the inspector general concluded mccabe was not entirely forthcoming during the review. according to people briefed on the matter, mccabe, who's been criticized by president trump a number of times, had previously announced his intention to retire effective this sunday. mccabe has been with the fbi since 1996.
if attorney general jeff sessions fires him before that, it would jeopardize his federal pension. the "new york times" reports that no decision has been made, though people inside the justice department expect mccabe to be fired before friday. >> jonathan, that would be outrageous. here's a guy that has served at mirbly and also this whole narrative by republicans that mccabe and the fbi somehow was anti-trump is ridiculous. what he's accused of leaking was detrimental to hillary clinton, the clinton foundation, and the clinton campaign just like comey's letter helped elect donald trump so do you fire a guy two days before retirement because the president of the united states is applying pressure over twitter to do that. >> mccabe has become part of the republican talking points about the secret societies and conspiracy theories within the doj and fbi to bring down the president when, as you just point out, those stories were damaging to hillary clinton during the campaign. we don't know the details of the
ig report, not being truthful to agents is a fireable offense within the bureau but this does seem -- it smacks of pettiness, this is someone who the president has targete eed in an unprecedented public way to single out a career official. and the other person perhaps more than mccabe who is a key figure in this drama is jeff sessions. jeff sessions is the one who will have to make the decision to fire him or not. we know sessions has a strained relationship with the president, trump has never forgiven him for recusing himself from the russia probe and this almost feels like an implicit test to the attorney gener general. >> tack about arbitrary and capricious firing. fbi agents have been leaking since the fbi was created. the leaks during the obama administration, the leaks during
the bush administration, you can't pick out the one guy the president of the united states hates and targets and says take away his retirement because if you got rid of fbi in the fbi that that has leaked, oh, my god, this country would be a far more dangerous place. >> and it does seem harsh to me. the ig report will come out and it goes to something called the office of professional responsibility in the fbi which is a career group that makes recommendations on whether people should be fired or what should happen. it will be interesting to see chance before it gets to sessions and he has to make this decision. still ahead, the white house revolving door keeps spinning, almost spinning out of control and it's impacting one person who has largely stayed silent on the matter. the chaos has reportedly disrupted mike pence's presidential aspirations. we'll talk to vicki ward about her new reporting next on "morning joe."
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president trump is set to welcome ireland's prime minister today. the two will attend the friends of ireland luncheon hosted by paul ryan. vice president mike pence is set to attend the festivities with the president and irish prime minister. speaking of vice president, the vice president's plan to become president has been disrupted by the current chaos in the white house according to our next guest, best selling author, columnist, reporter and editor at large for the huff post magazine high line vicki ward. her latest piece is entitled "swamp thing." i love that. also with us at the table, political writer for the "new york times" and msnbc political analyst nikon -- nikon 'fess
sorry. >> so many republicans are lining up next to the president. they must see him as success, luck thing for the future. >> right. so actually, what i say in the piece is that, i think he was -- mike pence's aspirations have been threatened really last spring when the mueller investigations began, comey had been fired, and people around mike pence began to be very afraid that his close proximity to the president would damage his reputation, irreparably. and he's all been very clear, he's in his 50s, he wants a future after trump. so that is why he turned to this very talented, charming 35-year-old from georgia, nick aires, who is considered a master strategist, to help pence walk this very tricky line,
staying very close and loyal to trump, but at the same time, separate. and actually, people would say that nick aires has done a brilliant job. i quote someone in the piece saying that ted cruz has that unless pence gets tarnished in some way by the mueller investigation, he won't run against pence. so, actually, i think he has done a good job of keeping pence on this difficult line. the problem is that i don't think mike pence is going to enjoy reading my piece, because nick aires has a few skeletons in his closet that i think, you know, my reporters, my reporting shows pence won't like. the main problem is that he still has this consulting business and he's now been in the white house for nine months and the white house have given me no definitive statement telling me that he sold that. well, that creates all sorts of questions, particularly because pence is making him the sort of
key man for the midterms, largely positioned there by nick aires. so nick aires as his chief of staff is bringing in political candidates, telling him who to endorse, who to support. and at the same time, there's a question mark about whether nick aires' own business is benefiting from this. and we have an incident in the piece where pence does a photo op with a guy who's running for congress in north dakota. turns out that that guy is linked to a client of nick aires' business. well, that asks real questions. >> so the running joke in washington is that the vice president is always out of the loop, right? he's not aware of things that are happening in the white house, the bad things. is part of nick aires' job is to keep him out of the loop on the bad things and find him good things to be in the loop on? >> well, no. funnily enough, i think nick
aires' job is very much to keep him in the loop on everything except nick aires. i mean, one thing that i think will come as that great surprise to mike pence this morning is the fact that nick aires is in a group of -- a tiny group, a group of four, deciding who gets paid, which candidates get contributions from the pence c pac. but nick aires' business is being paid by the pence pac. over $100 grand. the last payment was in october while he was in office. the first payment of $50,000 was the first payment the pence pac actually made, long before it made any contributions to candidates. which raises the question, what is the purpose of the pence pac? is it in fact to pay nick ayers' business? >> and there's also the fact that mike pence is standing by as all of this happens in front of him with no voice as to what is right and wrong. and i don't know how that
translates into his own election prospects some day. >> pence has yet to challenge the president on anything. >> how about racism? >> even on something simple. we heard pence, after the "access hollywood" tape dropped, there was a suggestion that that was inappropriate, he did not approve that. but that was it. beyond that moment, he has been -- we all see the image of him standing behind the president, sort of gazing at him with that smile, and that sort of has been his posture privately inside the white house as well. he hasn't been challenging the president on much of anything. although nick is certainly right, he's managed to avoid a lot of the major scandals in the room, too. >> and even short of challenging. we've been talking all morning, trust insists on blind loyalty. and as you get closer to pence actually running, he's going to have to figure out how to manage that. >> this ends in a very rotten way, blind loyalty. vicky ward, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> we'll be reading your new piece in "huff post high line." still ahead, during the campaign, they called him a nancy pelosi democrat, but now that conor lamb has won,
republicans are claiming the pennsylvania democrat as one of their own. we're back in just a moment. >> both of these candidates, the republican and the democrat, ran as conservatives. >> i'll refuse to allow that. >> ran as pro-gun. >> i support universal background checks. >> pro-life. >> i support a woman's right to choose. this is the proposed budget that the white house sent to congress and i'll vote against that. >> he said, oh, i like trump. i love the tax cuts. >> we didn't need to add a penny to our debt to have the tax cut for our working and middle class people. it was a giveaway. >> kept saying, is he a republican? sounded like a republican to me. you know what goes here... and your approval rating... goes here. test drive the ztrak z540r at your john deere dealer and learn why it's not how fast you mow, it's how well you mow fast.
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do i look like a president? how handsome am i, right? how handsome? somebody said, he really does look good. i hear he's nice looking. i think i'm better looking than him. i do. i do. personally, i like rick saccone. i think he's handsome. >> he said, you're on -- you're on the air. and he said, i'm looking at a picture of you. and he said, very handsome. so trumpian. >> clearly, the most important factor for a president, congressman, or white house economic adviser. no word yet on which handsome devil might replace h.r. mcmaster. >> i think it might be willy. he's a good-looking guy.
>> larry is a good-looking guy. >> -- to work in the white house, let's just face it, right, it's all about -- and actually, we've had conversations with him, where he's talked about people he's trying to hire, and he's like, i like the look. i like the look of that he person. in trump tower, i'm staring at him, he's sitting in his chair and he's thinking about somebody to be on his foreign policy team, foreign policy team, and he's like, i like the look, the look works. >> during the transition to trump tower, he would tell people around him, the idea of wanting someone who looked like they came out of central casting. >> that's how rex tillerson got there. >> well -- my gosh. >> one secretary of state nominee or possibility was too short. >> i was just going to go there. >> oh, my -- >> so he said he couldn't. he told us he couldn't select him, even though he was a smart guy. he was too short. and then, of course, he could never put bolton, john bolton at the state department, because he said he looked like captain
kangaroo. >> well, i am a walrus. >> and he was obsessed -- he says, that mustache, he says, joe, who has mustaches like that? it's 2017 -- 2016. >> well, the craziest part about the first person you're referencing, and i think we're thinking about the same person, not only one of the most respected foreign policy people, but one of the most respected people in the united states of america. but he was a little too short and slight for the president's tastes. >> yeah. >> on behalf of those who are short and slight, i don't think it should be disqualifying. >> he also had a problem with someone who worked out too much. >> he said they were spending their energy the wrong way. >> so we've got new details on the flood of white house departures. stop! you always go too far. >> it's true, though! >> i know, but we don't need to go into gross details of gross things that he said. >> he said -- instead of doing aerob aerobics. >> as republicans try to brush off a significant loss in pennsylvania -- >> you can't brush that off. >> you can't brush it off, so
stop trying to brush it off, because you look stupid. >> and "the wall street journal's" front page has new reporting on the deepening story involving stormy daniels. >> there's lots of stormy news. it's stormy, stormy, stormy across all the cable networks. and the headlines. this thing is getting ugly. it's going right to the heart of things. right to the core. >> when does anderson cooper's "60 minutes" thing go? >> that's sunday and they're trying to stop it. but you can't stop "60 minutes." >> stormy daniels' attorney was on nicole wallace yesterday, i was, too, and she said it was still being worked out. she said they hoped it would be this sunday. they're still doing some fact checking. it might be the following sunday. >> wow, that's going to be a big one. >> and anderson's building it up. on his show last night -- >> stormy, stormy, stormy. >> did he? led with stormy? >> well, it's just so -- >> well, it sounds to me, we talked about yesterday, and things we've heard, that she may provide some more detail than we've previously heard. >> or more detail than we actually want.
>> or that we want. >> physical evidence. >> and nobody wants -- >> we really don't. >> -- at the same time, maybe some people need to understand, especially people in the evangelical community, who have just gone blind to this president's decisions in life that he lies about. >> well. >> and so this will help show them the truth. and then they can maybe perhaps speak more clearly about their opinions. >> let's just say, willy, if they are not blind yet, after -- >> they will be blinded. >> after the evidence, they will be blinded. >> they can't unsee it. >> they're in with him. in for a dime, in for a dollar. >> most people will be blind if we see that -- physically blind. >> i don't want to see that. >> well, i'm not sure why that evidence exists. who in the world would do that? >> with a -- >> disgusting. >> now we have former treasury secretary -- she's not with us right now. but we have former treasury official and "morning joe" stormy daniels analyst. he handled all the things involving the stormy daniels
situation in the obama administration. >> he's got some charts. >> he's got charts on stormy daniels. that is, of course, steve rattner. >> white house reporter for the associated press, jonathan lamir. nbc news national political reporter, heidi priszybyla, and we'll get right to the news, then. speaking to campaign donors, president trump is claiming the democrat who flipped a republican seat in western pennsylvania as one of his own. in a leaked recording from a gop fund-raising dinner in missouri, first reported by the atlantic and confirmed by nbc news, trump claimed conor lamb supported his agenda. here's part of the audio, provided by a republican donor. >> the young man last night that ran, he said, oh, i'm like trump. he said, i, you know, second amendment, all, everything. i love the tax cuts, everything. you wouldn't have known. i mean, it's a pretty smart race, actually.
so last night, the young man, also, he ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. i kept saying, is he a republican? he sounded like a republican to me. >> you know, by the way, mika, a lot of people on tv and conservative radio yesterday were claiming that conor lamb was a conservative who just basically followed in trump's direction. that's actually -- this is going to shock you, but like the seth rich story and so many others, that's just not true. >> well, lamb called the republican tax bill a giveaway to the top 1%, supported expanded background checks, supports roe versus wade and criticized attempts to repeal obamacare. lamb's opponents spared no expense in reminding voters where he stood. republicans and conservative groups spent $13.3 million on tuesday's special election. outside groups behind the republican candidate vastly
outspending the ones that backed lamb with ads that depicted lamb as a liberal and one of nancy pelosi's sheep. but now that he has apparently won the race, republican house members -- >> wait, wait, wait. who's sitting there putting this commercial together going, you know what, that's going to get people in pennsylvania voting for rick saccone. >> well, first of all, it's treating people in pennsylvania like they're di-- i mean, what e you telling people? >> i would just remind people, yesterday on this show, on this show, conor lamb called for nancy pelosi to step aside in washington. >> yeah. so again, it's crazy they go from saying that he's a tool, a liberal tool or nancy pelosi to saying that he's a republican. and why doesn't he just switch to the republican party the day after he wins? it's ridiculous. and said they were with him the whole way. >> mr. lamb was brilliant. he ran as a republican. so it worked for him.
he certainly didn't run as a democrat. conor lamb ran as a guy who would line himself up with president trump. >> you know, the lesson was, run away from nancy pelosi and run, you know, with donald trump. >> at the end of the day, he ran as a republican. >> cornor lamb ran as a republican. he was a republican in name, so you had a republican in name versus a republican in truth. >> both of these candidates, the republican and the democrat, ran as conservatives. ran as pro-gun, pro-life, anti-nancy pelosi conservatives. and i think that's the takeaway we see here. >> if it is truly a wake-up call, as we understand you told your members this morning, isn't it also a wake-up call for the role the president should play from your opinion in the upcoming midterm? >> look, i think the president helped close this race. i think you saw the public polling. the public polling wasn't looking so good and the president came in and helped close this race and got it to where it is right now, which is within a few hundred votes. >> so, jonathan, unless i don't really -- if i'm not keeping up
with what paul ryan and all those republican house members and everybody else that was talking there, unless i'm not keeping up with where they are ideologically win mean, if they ran has -- if conor lamb now shares their views and donald trump's views, then they now are pro-choice. they now support roe v. wade. paul ryan and all of those republicans are now against a 20-week ban on abortion. paul ryan and all those republicans and donald trump are against the trump tax cuts. and paul ryan and all of those republicans and laura ingraham, i saw her yesterday saying the same thing and donald trump all believe that the tax cuts are giveaways for the rich. paul ryan and laura ingraham and donald trump and all those republicans now actually support obamacare and are against the
giveaways to obamacare. i mean, i could go on. also, paul ryan and donald trump and all of those other republicans now actually support the afl-cio's positions on unions and trade. >> it seems like they've thrown away generations of republican orthodoxy. this is truly a change election, this one special in pennsylvania. >> and it just took 24 hours for -- >> change election! that's cute. >> if you believe republicans -- now, they could be lying through their teeth. and if they're lying through their teeth, then they aren't pro-choice and they aren't against the 20-week abortion ban and they aren't for obamacare and they aren't against the tax cuts. but -- i mean, they're either lying through their teeth or they have changed all of their positions in 24 hours. >> they certainly were very well-rehearsed on that spin you just played in that video clip. there's no question, this is a loss for republicans. they can put their brave face
out yesterday and they' spin th we heard there is frankly almost as laughable as the one we're hearing from the white house, where they -- a white house spokesman said yesterday and the president kind of hinted it, that the republican candidate in pennsylvania was down five or more points before trump showed is up for that rally saturday night and brought it into a virtual dead heat. and suggesting that that is sort of well, a moral victory. but, of course, moral victories does not change the fact that that seat is now in democrat control. and there are real questions about what president trump's coattails, what his impact will be in, you know, as we head towards the midterms. let's remember, this is a district that he won by more than 20 points in 2016. and you know, my wife's family is out from westmoreland county, that part of pennsylvania, that is trump country. >> oh, my kbogosh. >> the fact that there is now a loss here, even a narrow one, is worrisome to the white house, despite what they're saying. >> and silly to spin. still ahead on "morning joe," the president is not just making things up about conor
lamb, he's also making up facts about trade and telling them straight to the face of the canadian prime minister. we've got more audio from the president's fund-raising event with republicans. but first, here's bill karins with a check on the forecast. bill? >> mika, winter, it's the unwanted guest at the party and the party is over and it's still here. winter in the south, in the middle of march. i mean, we have freeze warnings in florida this morning. this is people that are on spring break and it's 32 in gainesville. it's 27 in tallahassee. mobile is at 34. and when we look at the windchill values, it's even worse. it's in the 30s and 20s in many of these areas. and off the east coast, it's the same thing. with teens and 20s. we just can't catch a break right now. the nor'easter has come by, thrown the cold air down from us at canada, warms up a little bit, but then another storm comes. here's how it's looking today for the temperatures. the warm air, spring-like conditions are really only found here in the middle of the country. beautiful oklahoma city, north platte, nebraska, at 63. mississippi is looking fantastic. we have rain and snow showers
throughout much of the west. reno only at 46. and as we head towards this upcoming weekend, the weather pattern is pretty calm, but it's still cold. buffalo, only in the 30s. maine only in the 20s for highs. that's really cold for this time of year. the south does warm up for anyone that's going to be down here on spring break around the gulf coast. we still have to keep an eye possibly on that storm system as we go throughout the west. and that will add to the middle of the country through this upcoming weekend. and as far as tuesday's nor'easter goes in the northeast, probably a 30 to 40% chance right now. still kind of wish washy. we'll give you more information on that as we get a little closer, still five days away. you're watching "morning joe," we'll be right back. the 3-pointer changed the game.
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privately claimed to republican donors that he made up information while discussing trade with canadian prime minister, justin trudeau. >> trudeau came to see me, he's a good guy. justin. he said, no, no, we have no trade deficit with you. we have none. donald, please -- a nice guy, a good-looking guy, comes in. donald, we have no trade deficit. he's very proud. because everybody else, you know, we're getting killed with them. so he's -- i said, well, justin, you do. i didn't even know. josh, i had no idea. i just said, you're wrong. you know why? because it was so stupid. i said, you're wrong, justin. he said, no, we have no trade deficit. i said, well, in that case, i feel differently. but i don't believe it. i said to one of our guys, his guy, our guy, i said, check, because i can't believe it. well, sir, you're actually right. we have no deficit, but that doesn't include energy and
timber. and when you do, we lose $17 billion a year. it's incredible. >> it is incredible. it's a funny story but it is a lie. >> so as "the washington post" points out, the office of the united states trade representative says the united states has a trade surplus with canada. >> so what he did, willie, and i mean, i, of course, am the last person to criticize somebody's math skills. >> because he went to university of alabama. and there -- >> thank you, if you're finished with your jokes. >> it's almost like you've heard that before, mika. >> never. >> roll tide. >> roll tide. so, yes, there is a $17 billion deficit with canada when you include energy and timber.
but there's laike a $21 or $22 billion surplus when you add on everything else. so we actually do have a trade surplus with canada. so justin trudeau -- it hurts me to say this. mr. boxer -- >> oh, but he's so masculine. >> oh, he's so masculine. >> he's talking about justin, not the president. >> it hurts me to say this, but justin trudeau was right. >> i think that was a british accent. >> that was a shaky canadian accent. >> what's this aboot? >> that's it. much better. >> so, anyway. >> be nice to justin. >> so the bottom line is -- >> it hurts me to say it, but justin trudeau was right. it doesn't hurt me to say that donald trump was wrong. he's making up a story. and then he told these people -- >> what else is new? >> -- i didn't even knew. i sent them out and they came back in and they said, you're right, sir. nobody said that, because it's just not the truth. he was lying last night, what a
surprise, to his contributors. >> and it shows how casually he did it. it was like a flippant, one-off story where the fundamental basic conversation was based on something that wasn't true, at the highest possible level, between two heads of state, steve. and he's, you know, for a guy who claims fake news about five, six times a day, that's really important, to tell the truth. to have your facts right when you're talking to another head of state, when you're the president of the united states. >> well, you know he's a big-picture guy. he doesn't spend a lot of time dwelling on the facts. a normal person would say, okay, i made a mistake -- >> or they wouldn't say that in the first place. >> speaking of not telling the truth and lies -- >> and on this, the other point, it's not just the fact that it's a lie, his shaky relationship with the truth, it's going in so up prepared to a meeting with a head of state. and tariffs is one subject, but let's talk about other foreign policy issues with north korea looming, is another. to have to be the one -- to be the president of the united states, to misrepresent yourself and to be just winging it in a
meeting with a head of state. that's also really troubling. >> it's unimaginable that he actually reads the briefing book. it's unimaginable he goes into these meetings really knowing what he's talking about, so stuff like this happens. >> but this is a guy who doesn't sign contracts. >> think about the top two stories so far we've mentioned today. you have donald trump and the republican party lying about conor lamb, saying that he's actually a republican, when he is pro-choice, he opposes a ban on abortion after 20 weeks, which just about every conservative i know supports that, he opposed the trump tax cuts, he opposed the gutting of obamacare. you name it, conor lamb is a down-the-middle democrat. but they lied about that. and now we have this meeting with the canadian prime minister -- >> rate. >> -- who has this strange british accent. and now, mika, we go to a third story in a row, where once again, the president and the
people around him are lying. >> and joe, that story is next. we've learned that a drop lawyer for the trump administration signed legal papers three weeks ago that were intended to keep the former porn star, stormy daniels, quiet about an alleged affair with donald trump, just in the year after he had his son, barron. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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that puts ourselves in harm's way, and to have a partner that is so skilled at what they do is indispensable, and i couldn't ask for a better partner. here is the latest in the scandal involving porn star, stormy daniels. we've learned that a jill a. martin, a top lawyer for the trump organization, signed legal papers three weeks ago that were intended to keep the former porn star, whose real name is stephanie clifford, quiet about an alleged affair with donald trump. the white house denies the allegations, but according to clifford's lawyer, it's another piece of evidence that proves trump knew about the nondisclosure agreement and the $130,000 hush money payment from trump's lawyer, michael cohen. the trump organization released a statement to nbc news saying,
quote, the trump administration is not representing anyone and with the exception of one of its california-based attorneys in her individual capacity facilitating the initial filing, the company has had no n involvement in the matter. wait a minute, so -- >> so, willie, michael cohen, he hasn't exactly -- >> this is so gross. >> -- covered his footprints in this case. >> never use the company e-mail when paying off a porn star, i find. >> and if going to california, they have a few lawyers in california, don't go straight to the one who works for the trump organization. this guy would not be used as a lawyer in "the borne identity" to cover people's tracks. >> among the many reasons this is interesting, because michael cohen's argument is, yes, i paid $130,000 to stormy daniels, but it was directed by no one and came from me and me alone. but if you have a trump organization attorney signing on
to a document now to silence stephanie cliffords from talking about it, that changes the conversation. >> and she does have a voice, which she wants to use and apparently did on "60 minutes." meanwhile, a july 12th hearing has been set for clifford's lawsuit aimed at dissolving the nondisclosure agreement so she can speak freely. here is cliffords' attorney talking to msnbc's nicole wallace. >> you are now in the line of work of defending women who have had sexual relationships with the president that he would like to keep quiet. have more women come to you? >> yes. >> how many? >> i'm not going to answer that? >> dozens? >> not a dozen. >> more than five? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> bigger than a bread box? >> do they have -- >> heidi. republicans on capitol hill, they're looking at all of these election losses. they're looking at the mueller investigation moving on. they're now looking the at this
story unfolding. and you say that they're just fine with it? there's not a rising sense of panic on the hill? >> oh, i didn't say there wasn't a rising sense of panic. i just said that i didn't know that it was going to cause a course correction in terms of how they present themselves or what they say about the president. >> isn't that remarkable, though, heidi? >> i don't get it. i'm confused. what will it take? >> they are the captain of the "titanic." they know the iceberg is straight ahead of them. they know they're going to get routed this fall if there's not a course correction. >> i do think that they were thinking that, you know, they all bought a ticket on the "uss trump" and that it was up to all of them to try to keep it afloat. now that you're seeing holes poked in the ship and folks starting the see that it's sinking, potentially, that there's a huge wave coming, you know, there is definitely panic, but at the same time, they are on the record in some of the
most controversial statements that this president has said, their silence is on the record. and, so, maybe, if there is additional information that comes out of the mueller investigation, that would be the only thing, joe, that i would think in terms of, if there's conclusive evidence of obstruction, conclusive evidence of collusion, that maybe that they would be forced to make that break. but look what you just saw this week with the house intelligence committee essentially shutting down the investigation. >> right. >> that is members, again, putting themselves on the record in quite a public way that they don't want to know and that they're willing to take that risk, that they look silly when the evidence comes out. coming up on "morning joe," there is no doubt american politics have become tribal. a new book explores how group instincts shapes the fate of nations. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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if you look at the map of the united states, there's all that red in the middle where trump won. i win the coasts, i win illinois and minnesota, places like that. but what the map doesn't show you is that i won the places that represent two-thirds of america's gross domestic product. so i won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. and his whole campaign, make america great again, was looking backwards. you know, you departmeidn't lik people getting rights, you don't like women getting jobs, you don't want to see that indian american succeeding more than you are. whatever your problem is, i'm going to solve it. >> hmm. that was hillary clinton this past weekend, claiming president trump's voters came from
less-productive parts of the country and were attracted bea backward-looking message. now democrats seeking re-election are scrambling to distance themselves from those remarks, while gop strategists are using those comments to remind voters in key states of clinton's polarizing role in the cultural divide. and, so, the debate continues over what role political tribalism played in propelling trump to the white house. joining us now, yale law school professor and "new york times" best-selling author, amy chua. she's out with a new book, "political tribes." also with us, author and nbc political analyst, anden, and "the new york times" nick confessore rejoins the table. good to have you all onboard. hillary clinton's comments, i guess we could start there, but tribalism is boiling hot these days. >> it's boiling hot.
and it's actually hardwired in us. humans, like our fellow prime mattes, are just tribal. we need to belong to groups, and the problem is, once we connect to a group, we just want to cling to it and defend it no matter what. and that's not always bad. march madness is all about tribalism. but when tribalism takes over a political system, that's when it gets very dangerous. because we start to see everything through our group's lens. and what's happened in america right now, you heard it in these comments, it's not just the point where we see people who voted on the other side as people we disagree, th with, the want to argue with. but at this point, as immoral, lesser people -- >> evil. >> evil. and it starts to be almost the enemy. and when you're starting to look at almost half the country as someone that you are rooting to -- you want them to fail. and fascinating studies, this is terrible, show that we -- our brain lights up. we often want to stick it to the
other side. we experience pleasure when the other side takes a hit and we just can't have a situation where we're rooting against half the country. you know, we're going to have a point where we really fracture. and you know, i've written about democracies all over the world. so i think the stakes are higher than people think. >> i agree. i agree. >> countries fall apart. >> amy, have we always been that way? you say it's innate to us and it's just now we have more social media platforms and things like that to express it or that it's amplified or intensified? >> first of all, we've always been tribal. you know, it was just that for 200 years, the country was dominated, economically, politically, cultural by a white majority. so it didn't feel tribal, because one big tribe superimposed its voice. so to some extent, what we're hearing right now, what feels so disturbing is really just formerly silenced voices in groups speaking. i think it's partly healthy. i think the problem is when we
wall ourselves off. you know, we've always been tribal, but there was -- i don't want to say everybody, but the idealist sense is that we're also americans. i'm indian american, croatian american, muslim american, but also fellow americans. and with a big demographic changes we're having in this country now, it's turned into this question of, does this country belong to us or them? and we don't want us versus them right in our own country. >> ana, i want to read an excerpt from your piece in "the huffington post." ana writes, we are turning into a society so perpetually offended by each other, that we are less and less capable of actually arguing about our future. those who await the country that is coming can't see what is yours. seeing those marooned from an older america, the woke might throw them a raft and pull those willing to be saved into the next country. and those who fear and resent this new america in the making might consider how it has felt all these years not to be part of the dream, wholly or at all,
and might conclude that they have a stake in making the country what they've always imagined it to be. a war of all against all isn't good to end, unless we all try something different. if we don't, the casualties will mount, the greatest of which may be the country. this is a point you've been making for a long time, which is, rather -- >> with limited success. >> we're going to let you try again this morning. but the point you've backbeen ma -- been making is, don't cut off the line, throw a life raft and say, here's a way we can all be in this together. >> anybody who's ever loved nibble or cared about anybody else or had a parent or a child knows, sometimes when you're saying something to you, what's going on with them is a little deeper than just what they're saying. so on the left and the right, we're yelling a bunch of things to each other and we're just responding at the yelling. and that's kind of a pretty childish approach. if, what i tried to think about in this piece is what if we actually try to understand what's going on behind each of our yellings? so i think for the left, the
thing that understand about the right, you can resist and fight it, and disagree with it, but to understand that behind the anger and the rage and the resentment is a tremendous amount of fear. that doesn't excuse anything, but just to understand that there's fear and there's woundedness. and there's a sense of losing one's reality. if you understand that, you actually become much better at trying to persuade people to join the idea of the partisans of the new america. i think for the right, needs to absolutely do something as well, which is, when you see people walking out on campus or protesting a professor, and it may seem like silly season. again, go a little beyond it. i think what people on the left are telling you, is that it has not actually been the american dream that everybody may think it is. that the idea, that the ideals of this country haven't been evenly distributed. and that when people are protesting things that may seem silly to you, they're actually telling you -- they're giving you a chance.
they're actually giving you a chance to make the american dream work for more people, which actually makes your belief even truer. >> the difference here, i see, though, with the president is that in the past, we've had perhaps people in office that you may not have voted for, who may not be prioritizing the ideals that you think he or she may, should be prioritizing, but we have a president who doesn't represent the ideals of this country. is that fair to say? and how does that stir the pot even more? >> there's no question that we have a president who is a master political tribalist. who does the "us versus them" thing and enflames. but i think to move forward, people are angry, rightfully so. and i think just to take immigration, right? going back to what anand said. people -- this is -- people are really afraid of losing their country. and i'm -- i teach on a college campus. i'm so well-trained to say things in a way that doesn't
offend people. but what anand is saying, if you listen, you know, people may articulate something in a way that sounds -- if we instantly say, oh, my gosh, you're a racist xenophobe, that will drive it underground and people -- if people feel they can't express themselves, they will go and underground is where there are really, really ugly groups. i think it's about, how can we start to talk to each other again? and the most exciting studies are, if you can pull people out of their tribes and have them interact as human beings, enormous progress can be made. this is not just exposure -- >> face-to-face. >> and almost talking about their pets, their children, their dogs. the integration of the military in the '50s was a huge success. no one thought it could be done. >> this question of fear is so important. on the campaign trail in 2016, it was very easy to find people who in different ways were expressing a fear of their country being taken away from them. and it was very obvious that it
linked back to the rising demands of people of color for full citizenship in this country. so what do you -- is there really any compromise there? because a lot of this reaction, right is, it was my country and people like me were in charge and now i see people who are not like me want their place at the table. is there actually a compromise there? is there a country on this planet that has survived a transition to a multi-racial democracy in those numbers? >> it's such a good question. i think, number one, probably not. i was having that conversation with someone the other day. and that should actually make us feel patriotic. we're actually attempting something right now that is extraordinary. the most powerful country in human civilization is giving itself over, over decades, to this massive demographic shift. while also empowering women and doing -- and it's actually an amazing thing to attempt. i think the idea of compromise between these groups is less important than how do we help the people you met on the campaign trail see who they will be on the other side?
i think to put it in terms of a compromise, i think what they have to accept is, this new america is coming. it's not optional, absent some very, very distraction policy shifts, that the demographics of this country are going to change and that women are going to be empowered. but how do we manage people down from their purchase? how do we, you know, how can you support the me too movement vigorously and understand there are a bunch of men who never got the memo because they're 60 years old. and we have to do something about them. we don't have to accept what they're doing, but we can't just let them be. we have to educate them and show them who they can be in the new america. >> one very hope tfl statistic along these lines is that most of the people most virulently against immigration and this changing america actually have never really interacted with a muslim american, a african american, mexican american, at least not at human level. so in a weird way, that's a
hopeful sign, supporting your point that through persuasion -- i mean, just interaction, reaching out. i mean, look, some things are going to be beyond, right? you have to call out certain things. this is not saying everything is okay. but when you're talking about 60 million people on each side, i'm with anand. i mean, the persuasion beginning to, you know, i think that's the next step. >> amy chua, thank you so much. the book is "political tribes: group instinct and the fate of nations." come back. and always good to have anand. thank you very much, as well. we'll be looking for your "huff post" column out this weekend. so thank you for that. still ahead, our next guest asks whether president trump's endorsements didn't work in alabama or pittsburgh, where will they work? keep it right here on "morning joe."
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back and planning to meet with representatives from twitter, facebook google and others to lead the fight against online bullying. she just recorded this extremely emotional psa. >> the president and i have witnessed firsthand the compassion and commitment of americans. as first lady, i face many important issues. but none has touched my heart more than the issue of cyber bullying online. it is important to set example for all children. whether they be little marcos, lying teds, low iq crazy mikas
or overrated merrills. if we don't treat each other well online, we are not better than fat little rock man. may god bless you, even haters and the losers, #sad. >> well, at least she's doing something. >> what a lovely message from the first lady. >> that was fantastic. >> it's nice to have you in there. >> i feel included now and less bullied. >> you make a lot of cameos in the president's messaging. >> thank you. >> joining us, howell reyns. he won the pulitzer prize for feature writing. and his latest venture, contributor to nbc news and msnbc. this morning, he has a new place up for think, titled conor lamb and doug jones. suggest about the 2018 midterms.
in it howell writes both lamb and jones ran campaigns that underscored the complex demographics of their venuings. made a 2016-style trump attack. at some point congressional republicans interested in survival have to re-evaluate whether the president's strategy of permanent war fur will work again. are beginning to wonder if trump's endorsement won't work in alabama or pittsburgh. where will they work? howell, good morning and welcome to the nbc family. it's great to have you with us. >> thank you, i'm litted edeli be here and what a great time to join. >> great to have you in the conversation with us. let's pick up on the piece you wrote. suggesting the reason lamb won in pennsylvania is he tried to be like donald trump.
we've laid out the reasons that's not accurate at all. but what's the message? >> i think the message is there are twofold. let's start with the demographic one. what we saw in pittsburgh and what we saw in my sister's hometown suburb in mountain brook, alabama, was habitual voters voting red since reagan are slipping across to vote for democrats who present themselves in a reasonable way. that leads us to the second point. which we saw with conor lamb. when asked what he would say if trump called, he would say thank you. what that suggests is these are calm reasonable empathetic people. who project themselves in a way that makes them, in fact, role models for not only for future
candidates but for those families who want to see their sons and daughters grow up to be these kind of people. that's why i say in my piece what i call the role model issue may be cutting against trump and causing this erosion among white independents and republican suburbani suburbanites. >> you cap often find a powerful sense from voters they're being kind of looked down upon by washington, by people in new york and california. and that has been a powerful current in 2016 and beyond. so what is short circuiting that in these elections? how come it isn't enough to put republicans over the top? >> well, nick, nothing has short circused the alabama, indeed,
southern need since the civil war, and that's one of our reali realities. in rural pennsylvania, there's that same sense. and identification with a lot of what the trumpian anger. but i think down here it's hard to generalize maybe about conor lamb and doug jones. with conor lamb, i thought you saw a modern face on democratic party principles. and what doug jones, i think you saw more clearly preference for a candidate who would not embarrass the state the way roy moore did. but what these people share and what's important for democrats in 2018, they found a way to talk about hot button trump-type issues. for example, conor lamb said, i don't believe in abortion or i
don't favor abortions as a practice but i support the right of a woman to make her own medical decisions. and in alabama, doug jones was able to say along with conor lamb, look, i know guns, i own guns. i've handled them. but i'm not a parent for the nra. i think those were powerful messages if we are where i think we are, which is at a flex point back towards calm centerism. >> both conor lamb and doug jones did not run against trump and trumpism but they ran for something else, right, ran for a moderate sensibility in washington. is there a message there for left of the democratic party, some whom want the election to be a full referendum on the president? >> no, i think that would be a mistake. joe trippy who ran doug jones campaign in alabama, said the
road forward is to be local democrats. talking about the kinds of issues that these two candidates talked about. and i think, you know, i was really interested -- paul ryan trying to talk away this victory. i think it's more important to listen to one of my neighbors in pennsylvania represented charlie dent who's one of the cageyest republicans around and he said in the times denial is not just a river in the south. i see the makings of a waive election. if we're moving in that direction, i think these are elections along with that of the virginia governorship last november that we'll point back to and say that's where we saw the topography changing. >> howl raines, thank you very much. you can read the new piece on nbc.com/think. students walking out in
protest of gun violence. the protests marked exactly one month since the deadly school shooting at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. the mass protest lasted 17 minutes. one for each of the parkland victims. an estimated 185,000 people all across 50 states were expected to join the walkout and around 31,000 schools participated. protests varied in size with many participants wearing orange, the color representing support for tighter gun laws. in response to yesterday's demonstrations, the nar posted a photo to twitter of a rifle captioned, i'll control my own guns, thank you. meanwhile, the house passed its school safety bill with bipartisan support in a vote of 407-10. the student teachers and officers preventing school violence act would provide $50 million a year for a new federal grant program for schools to
conduct training to identify signs of school violence before it occurs and set up anonymous reporting system for threats. it would also authorize an additional $25 million for schools to install new locks, metal detectors and panic buttons. the senate's version of the bill also has bipartisan support. however, the house version includes a provision to allow people with concealed carry permits to carry their guns across state lines, which could prevent it from passing in the senate. you have got to love how all these things have a caveat at the end, nick. >> look, this is the playbook we've seen over and over again, after shooting first, the nra's lying low, then they redirect to another policy, which is more guns in schools in the hands of teachers and the president has backed away from his promises on gun control. this is what happens every time. there's no meaningful change in this issue. >> there's a lot to be
dissatisfied with. the state of florida has enacted serious new laws. it never goes quite far enough for some people. but you've got raising the age to 21 to buy weapons. some things have changed, at least in the state of florida. >> the nra with their inflammatory ads and threatening ads should be sued and forced to take them down. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks so much, mika. good morning, i'm stephanie ruhle with a lot to cover today. starting with the president. telling a fund-raiser crowd he made up, he lied, made up information on trade during a meeting with canadian prime minister justin trudeau. >> i said, wrong, justin, you do. i didn't even know. josh, i had no idea. i just said you're wrong. you know why? because we're so stupid. >> oh, my god. plus, the resolving door. trump taps cnbc commentator larry kudlow as his new chief economic adviser. as rumors swirl over who will be next to