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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  March 16, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell returns." watch this space for any firings at the white house. follow us @mitchellreports and craig melvin takes it over on msnbc in new york. >> good afternoon to you. craig melvin here at msnbc headquarters in new york. march madness. reports swirling around the trump administration about a possible shake-up in the cabinet and beyond. many in the white house appear to be on pins and needles on this friday. who is making last-minute deals and are they only buying time? and physical threats? the attorney for porn star stormy daniels says she's received physical threats because of her legal fight with the president. and controversial call. the president is close to announcing his new plan to fight the opioid crisis in this country and could include a plan to allow the death penalty for
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drug traffickers. we start with the revolving door at the white house. reportedly the chief of staff and national security adviser are both on the hot seat this afternoon. so, too are the attorney general and several other cabinet members. john kelly and h.r. mcmaster may have only days or could be like rex tillerson, those days could turn into weeks or longer as the questions of survival potentially deminnish their power and create vacuums of power inside the white house. all of this happening as the administration is trying to focus on steel tariffs. china, russia sanctions, the opioid kroisis and, oh, those congressional midterms creeping closer as well. let's start at the white house with our man jeff. what is the latest that you are hearing about the future of both kelly and h.r. mcmaster? >> craig, let's start with chief of staff john kelly because we know the relationship between president trump and john kelly
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has been strained at times as kelly has tried to instill discipline on the president's free-ranging approach. kelly saying that god punished him when he left the department of homeland security to go to work in the white house. based on our reporting, it's save to say that john kelly is not going anywhere soon. multiple officials are pushing back against the reporting suggesting otherwise. as for h.r. mcmaster, the national security adviser, his depart suriminent but how long he might stay at the white house remains unclear. the president and mcmaster haven't gelled personally. and they've also had public disagreements over policy on issues such as iran, afghanistan and russia. president trump, remember, publicly rebuked mccaster on twitter for not more forcefully defending the president's 2016 win when mcmaster was talking about russia's election interference. add to that mcmaster has been at odds at times with john kelly and defense secretary jim mattis who were at one point the three
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of them so-called the axis of adults shaping the administration's foreign policy approach. as for mcmaster's replacements, craig, there are a couple of names. keith kellogg, the chief of staff at the national security council and john bolton. part of the bush/cheney crew that claimed saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction and he's emerged as a leading hawkish voice on north korea. bolton is controversial, even in republican circles but the president is said to like his tv appearances. the white house is throwing cold water on all of this. a tweet from sarah sanders last night. just spoke to potus and general h.r. mcmaster. contrary to reports, they have a good working relationship, and there nor changes at the nsc. these pronouncements from the white house are true until they aren't. the white house previously dismissed reports about the potential -- then potential exits of rex tillerson, michael flynn and james comey, too. we should say that the president
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is said to be taking his time before pulling the trigger on firing mcmaster. he wants to find a way to have mcmaster save face, find a soft landing and make sure there's a strong successor lined up. >> geoff bennett on a friday afternoon. always very busy thereupon thank you. keep us posted. this is how "the wall street journal report"s the status of john kelly. donald trump and john kelly reach truce. but inside that article you read phrases like this. at least temporarily. at least for the moment and tempora temporary. jonathan lemire, carolyn is an msnbc contributor and reports for "the washington post" and general wesley clark, retired four-star general, formerna eer supreme allied commander. let me start with you jonathan.
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chief of staff john kelly, is this a situation where maybe it's not today. maybe it's not next week but his days in that role are numbered. >> anyone who works for this white house is inherently on borrowed time. he fired someone at the end of every week and it seemed we were going that way in the west wing as well. we saw rex tillerson go a few days. kelly and trump have clashed increasingly in recent months. kelly came into the white house to try to restore order, streamline policy process, cut access to the oval office. he felt far too many aides wandered in and out distracting the president. the president was into that for a while but then started to chafe against some of the limits kelly has put upon him and they've clashed in recent weeks over the handling of the rob porter affair where he was accused of domestic abuse by two ex-wives and john kelly delivered a defense of porter
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before eventually seeing his exit. in our reporting in the associated press, even in recent days, trump was fuming to confidantes about an interview that john kelly gave to fox news in which he suggested trump's feelings on the border wall had evolved. a campaign promise. that interview was more than two months ago. and it was still in the president's mind in recent days. we do suggest that kelly at least for now is safe but that could change, of course, in a matter of hours, days or weeks. >> carol, i want to call our audience's attention to an article that you wrote. this new piece you co-authored. the delay in ousting mcmaster goes back to what geoff was just reporting. the delay in ousting mcmaster is they want to engineer a soft landing so that people aren't spooked by the idea of working in the trump administration. can you elaborate on that for us? >> well, remember that rex tillerson was very ignan imously
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escort out the door on tuesday. he learned basically in the wee hours of the morning in africa where he was sleeping when he got a call from the chief of staff, pack your bags, come on home. the president has decided to make a change. and it ultimately, he never even was able to talk to the president until a tweet arrived on tuesday announcing he was being replaced. it's not a very good way to be told you're leaving. not very honorable or respectful of the service you've given. and i think the white house is mindful of that with mcmaster. as we reported at "the washington post" last night, this decision has been made. the question is whether it's going to be executed in the near term. it's clear that the president is interested in making sure he has somebody in place about removing his national security adviser. this will make him a person who
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is now going to have three national security advisers in less than 15 months. >> general cohn is out, tillerson is out. these reports that mcmaster's days are numbered. these are the guys who were supposed to be the adults in the room. that is how so many of them were betrayed. what pressure do these departures in the case of mcmaster there not necessarily departure just yet but perhaps coming soon. what pressure does it put on the other adults who are still in the room? general mattis, for instance, the secretary of defense. >> well, i think that all three men understood when they went into these positions that this was going to be a high stress, high pressure job. but mattis, kelly, mcmaster, they all bring the military ethic in with them. you have to tell the boss bad news and sometimes he doesn't like it. and i think when you have that ethic and you bring that into
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the white house and it's the -- it's a cultural clash between the way the military has to operate and the way people in politics and especially in this white house like to operate. so president trump's been a man who has had his own family office. he's run it through his family. likes people around who make him feel good. he says he likes chaos. but he doesn't like to be, i would suspect, confronted. in the military, generals all the time have their subordinates tell them, sir, you can't do this. this won't work. they have a lawyer tell you that. a commander tell you that. we're used to an environment in which people were straighttalking, blunt and put their cards on the table. it's a different culture. and that's part of what you're seeing here. >> jonathan, a number of the problems that the white house is having right now seem to have to do with travel expenses of its secretaries. this is what various inspector generals have found so far. misuse of resources on a foreign trip by the v.a. secretary.
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the epa investigating scott pruitt for their frequency, cost and extent of his first class travel. steve mnuchin spent $1 million on military flights. the ig found no violation but treasury cited little justification for these military flights. the documentation for interior secretary ryan zinke's trips deficient. he's been accused of mixing business and politics on his troops. and over 400,000 in charter flights. and candy carson's apparent expensive taste when it comes to furniture. how many of these secretaries will survive? >> it's on david schulken of the v.a. they've drawn the president's ire in recent days and weeks. chief of staff kelly, a handful of days ago, call a number of them into the office and gave them an admonishing saying this is the stuff that can't happen.
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we know the president is upset, not just because it's a waste of taxpayer money but he doesn't like the perception. the imagery or bad headlines that these secretaries are using this money to promote their own lavish lifestyles. but it also speaks to this is an administration that has had more turnover in its first year and change than any other in generations. i certainly expect more will be coming here. again, we don't know if it's going to be a matter of days or weeks but there's going to be some more shoes to drop from the cabinet. a cabinet which has become a rather irrelevant one in this white house. this is a very top down leadership structure where things emanate from the president. the cabinet secretaries are expected to push forth his agenda. very little from the bottom up. for the most part they're going along with what the president says as opposed to bringing him
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ideas. a few exceptions. jim matt sis seen as very secure. jeff sessions is cheered on the right for getting conservative things done in the department of justice but as we all know, he's run afoul of president trump. he's been on the hot seat for months. >> carol you also quote a source. this caught our attention. you quote a source who said trump has sometimes expressed kong fusion about what agencies and secretaries are in charge of what duties. and again, we should note here, we are more than a year into his administration. how can that be, and which agencies are we talking about specifically? >> well, there's a number of them that he's asked about, including asking pruitt questions about regulations that involve other agencies not covered by the epa. scott pruitt the administrator there. what's striking about this administration is how many people, and this is evidenced by the trouble they're all running into, how many of the people that joined with president trump in his campaign and in his
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transition and ultimately in the administration who hadn't had public service in their background. you just can't imagine a situation like this with george bush even the idea that all of these secretaries are causing headlines of terrible embarrassment rather than echoing the message of the oval. that is the role ultimately of the cabinet secretaries to try to continue to amplify the points and the goals of the executive. instead, they are pulling donald trump further and further away from what you would call governing. you've got to wonder how is governing happening when all of these people who don't seem to understand their own roles, don't seem to be able to stay on the clear side of government service. how is it getting done. and i can see why the president doesn't know every little piece of what's happening in this agency or that or what they do.
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it should be the cabinet secretaries who kind of help him and hold him up. >> general clark, one of the reasons we've heard that john kelly took this job initially is that he saw this as an obligation to serve his country. generally if the president called you at this juncture and asked you to serve in some sort of capacity in his administration, what would you say, and why? >> i'd have to really think about it because i think when the president of the united states calls you and asks you to serve, you really have to think about it. now what happens when you get into these positions is you're put in positions that might compromise your values. might compromise what you believe in. so if you know that's going to happen, then you might say no. but i think you have to really consider it. especially people who have been in the military, you know, we're not partisan in the military. we serve the commander in chief regardless of which party it is. john kelly was only out for about a year.
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i'm sure he strongly feels the nonpartisanship or felt it when he came in. once you're in, of course, then you're bombarded by partisanship on all sides, and people take sides, take shots at you from both sides. and you realize that politics is a different game. but when you're called, you have to consider service. >> we'll have to leave it there. general, thank you. carol, thanks. jonathan, good to have you as well. enjoy the weekend. to a developing story on this friday afternoon. seven u.s. service members aboard an american military helicopter have been killed. they were killed when that chopper crashed in western iraq. it happened late yesterday. it does not appear at this point to have been part of any sort of enemy activity. the helicopter is used by the air force for combat search and rescue missions. the area where it went down is where an anti-isis coalition has an outpost near the syrian border. the service members' names have not been released yet. the cause is still very much
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under investigation. stormy daniels' fight with president trump. her lawyer now says she's facing physical threats because of the case. and also says there are six more women with similar stories. plus, was the daughter of a russian spy used to deliver the poison that nearly cost him and her their lives. that's the new theory that authorities are pursuing. and in the last hour, we learned that scotland yard is now treating the death of another russian in england as murder. we'll tell you how the russian businessman died. of the world's most familiar companies, but we make more than our name suggests. we're an organic tea company. a premium juice company. a coconut water company. we've got drinks for long days. for birthdays. for turning over new leaves. and we make them for every moment in every corner of the country. we are the coca-cola company,
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mere drama in the stormy daniels controversy. her lawyer claims his client could be in physical danger as a result of allegations of a sexual relationship between her and donald trump. he's talked about the issue earlier today on "morning joe." >> was she threatened in any way? >> yes. >> was she threatened physical harm? >> yes. >> and can you tell us whether it came from the president directly? the physical threats? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> will you deny that the president of the united states threatened your client? >> i will not confirm or deny. >> for the record, the white house has denied the allegations made against the president by stormy daniels. let's bring in legal analyst danny savallos and shannon, white house correspondent for
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bloomberg news. daniel, what might michael's strategy be here? >> controlled release of information. he has a battle on the legal side with the contract. there are arguments on both sides that trump may be able to enforce the contract or ec consultants, whoever ultpimatel is a party. but the contract may have never been created or if it was, it was the product of duress. and now we're learning this morning possibly even physical menace which would be grounds to rescind or pull back the contract. but whatever battles abinate has on the legal side, he has apparently the facts on his side. and he appears to be demonstrating that. he feels very confident -- >> you don't think he's bluffing? there's a possibility that any of this is a bluff? >> i've seen a lot of bluffing in my time. and he does not appear to be bluffing. it's an old legal adage. if the facts are against you but the law is on your side, pound the law. if the law is on your side but the facts are against you, you
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pound -- or vice versa, you pound the facts. if you don't have either, you pound the podium. he's poupding the facts because he is very confident in those facts. whatever legal battles he has going on with the contract, that could be a closer call. >> this was one of the most interesting points in the interview as well. this is when abinate is asked about his client being able to prove the allegations. take a listen. >> you would not take on a client or case like this without unequivocal proof? >> what i'm going to -- yeah, i'll answer that in the affirmative, yes. >> you would not take on a case like this unless there was proof there was a sexual relationship between stormy daniels and president trump and they tried to silence her about it? >> correct. >> he sounds pretty sure of himself there but what is he not saying there? >> i think he's saying exactly what he means. in this business, you don't want to take on a client with bad
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facts that you can't prove. it's not enough to threaten and be a successful litigator. if you don't have something that you can actually litigate. i mean, basic principles of negotiation. if they don't have anything to offer the other side, then the other side has no incentive to negotiate with them, then the case -- you don't do that kind of business in litigation unless you have a real case. you can only get so far on empty threats alone. >> we've heard president trump deny other allegations of sexual misconduct in the past. he's threatened to sue those who have made those allegations. as politico reports, twhen comes to daniels, whose given name is stephanie clifford," president trump has kept his thoughts to himself. he ignored a shouted question. he's ignored other questions as well. why is the president so quiet now, even on twitter? >> well, and at 2:00, reporters will certainly be asking sarah huckabee sanders about this again, i'm sure about some of
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these latest comments this lawyer has been making. i mean, any good lawyer would probably tell you to be quiet at this point and certainly on things like the mueller investigation. he has been quiet to an extent. quiet when it comes to attacking mueller nopt mueller. not so quiet on his thoughts on the investigation. if you were looking at this from a pure communications standpoint, you'd want to say as little as possible to try and prevent the story from getting any legs, which is what the white house has tried to do on the white house side. i don't know why we haven't heard more from the president and that can change at any moment, though. >> do you get the sense based on the folks you're talking to there in and around this white house that this is a story that they are taking seriously? >> the people who i talked to around the white house, there's so many other issues going on here right now, particularly around issues around resignation, north korea, the sort of chaos and turmoil last
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week around the north korea talks that came out of nowhere. around tariffs. so at least on the people i talked to, stormy daniels is not on the top of the list of issues people are concerned about in the white house right now. >> during that interview we also heard stormy daniels' attorney talk about six other women who have come to him with similar allegations against the president. several of these women have signed nondisclosure agreements according to him. how might the resolution of the stormy daniels case, how might it affect those other cases, or would it? >> these cases could all affect each other. first of all, you might have similar conduct. similar business conduct that can be used in each case to point to the other case and say he did it in this case. this is how they do business. this is one of their business practices. >> pattern. >> to the extent, a pattern, a practice. to the extent, assuming for the moment that all of those claims are valid and provable and vetable than that evidence, that
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information can be used, can be consolidated and used to possibly show this pattern or practice which would be probative of and also further tend to show this is the way ec did business, michael cohen did business and the way trump did business and knowingly. >> this "60 minutes" interview set to air march 25th. any way that donald trump, the president, could stop the airing of that interview at this point? >> it would be very difficult. courts do not look favorably on issues of prior restraint. we have constitutional rights to free speech. so, too, does "60 minutes." anyone who went to a court and said we want you to prevent "60 minutes" from speaking because that is what we're doing here on air, speaking. and it's a constitutionally protected activity. going to a court and asking them to stop the show would be dangerously close to infringing on our constitutional free
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speech rights and it's considered prior restraint. it's not likely that a court would prevent the broadcast of the show. >> shannon, are you hearing anything about that? anything inside the west wing that would lead you to believe this is something that they are considering trying to do? >> no. i have not gotten any indication of that. as far as i'm aware, the white house is not involved at all in the legal discussions when we asked about that. myself and my colleagues have been checking with the president's lawyers on this. they have not responded at all. and the indication our reporters have gotten from their connections at cbs is also that cbs has not heard anything and doesn't have an indication anything is coming. >> the briefing is set to start here about 30 minutes from now. shannon, thank you. danny cevallos, enjoy the weekend. a second mysterious case involving a russian in the united kingdom. now the subject of a murder
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more murder and mystery when it comes to british/russia relations. scotland yard announcing today it is treating the death of russian businessman nikolay glushkov in london as murder. the cause of death? compression to the neck. this after the nerve agent attack on a former russian spy and his daughter in salisbury. britain the foreign minister -- foreign secretary boris johnson today said it was, quote, overwhelmingly likely putin himself who ordered the salisbury attack. the daily telegraph reporting british intelligence agencies now believe the toxin may have been planted in the luggage of the double agent's 33-year-old daughter. i'm joined by nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel. let's start with why glushkov's
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death is raising eyebrows. >> mostly his associations. glushkov, 68 years old. he was a business partner of another russian critic of vladimir putin, a man named boris berezovskiy. he was one of the original oligarchs. at one stage close to putin. a very big falling out. berezovskiy fled this country and moved to the uk. he was then found dead, presumably hanged. some people said it was suicide. those close to him have told me they do not believe it was a suicide. that he was, in fact, murdered. berezovskiy at one stage also had on his payroll alexander litvinenk on o. the former russian kgb agent who then moved to the uk and drank
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tea that was laced with a radioactive compound pulonium 210. he died. now this other associate of the same group is in his home. he's found dead with compressions to the neck. and now the police in london said they are treating it as murder, not as a suicide. not as an accidental death. one more thing that makes it suspicious. when glushkov was in this country and while he was in exile, russia had accused him of stealing over $100 million from the state-run airline in this country. he denied the charges but was sentenced to eight years in absentia in jail in russia for allegedly stealing over $100 million from the airline. glushkov was due in court in the uk on monday to give his side of the story. russia was trying to extradite him. he was found monday night with
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the compressions to his throat that killed him. >> you are in moscow. the presidential election, and i'm using air quotes here because vladimir putin is, of course, a shoo-in for another electi election. is his support there in russia as strong as it was five years ago or just even a few years ago for that matter? >> i think it is strong. i think there is a sense in this country that he will win, that he will win by a large margin and that he -- that people here do support him. he's been playing a nationalist card. just recently. one of his big campaign stops the other day was in crimea. russia is building a land bridge, a huge bridge that will connect mother russia to crimea. crimea that piece of formerly the piece of ukraine that russia annexed. and russia and vladimir putin
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has presented that to his people to russians around the world, russian ex-pats as a major accomplishment. he didn't just take crimea. he expanded the motherland and he was there standing on a bridge that is currently being built to show how that is being done. he's been playing that card. he's been brushing off and other members of the kremlin have been brushing off all of these allegations of killing putin critics, of tampering in the u.s. elections. of cybermanipulation. as a propaganda campaign. as russia phobia in this country. and among his supporters, there is a great deal of empathy or great deal of support for that line of thinking. so, yes, he's going to win. yes, a lot of people are backing him. they like this nationalist
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agenda. the question is the election result has been guaranteed he's going to win. how many people will bother going to the polls. and putin really wants a large number. he wants to show the world that not only will people put him back in the kremlin for six more years but they came out enthusiastically to do it. >> chief foreign correspondent richard engel on duty for us in moscow. thanks for staying up late for us. fighting the opioid crisis in this country. president trump ready to roll out his plan that reportedly will include the death penalty for drug dealers. we'll talk to some of the specifics that we expect him to unveil. we'll also keep a close eye on that podium. that's the briefing room. the white house expected to answer some questions about all the reports on expected turnover, possible departures, stormy daniels. an investigation into how this happened. how does a bridge designed to withstand hurricane-force winds
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the trump administration is in the final stages of drawing up its plan to combat this country's opioid crisis. among the measures expected, pushing for changes in treatment and recovery methods and the possibility of the death penalty for drug traffickers. the president talked about that idea specifically at a rally last weekend.
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>> if somebody goes and shoots somebody or kills somebody, they go away for life and they can even get the death penalty, right? a drug dealer will kill 2,000, 3,000, 5,000 people during the course of his or her life. they catch a drug dealer. they don't even put them in jail. >> back with me now legal analyst danny cevallos. the president is talking about the death penalty for drug traffickers. can he do that without congress? >> the president cannot create law. the congress is the only body that creates law. although the executive branch can administratively create regulations and in that sense, the executive branch creates law. but in so far that, as everybody is concerned about the president advocating for the death penalty for drug traffickers, we already have that law. we've had that since bill clinton in 1994.
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as it is, federal law allows for the execution, the death penalty for drug traffickers in a continuing enterprise but they have to traffic in huge quantities of drugs or $20 million in one year. but the important thing to know is that we have not executed someone for a nonmurder crime since 1963. so the complaint about this and all these other death penalty statutes in the federal system is that they are toothless. why have them if we don't even use them? they create more administration that we don't apparently use or need. and if we don't execute in the federal system, why even have it for drug trafficking offenses? but make no mistake about it. existing federal law does allow for the death penalty for drug trafficking offenses. >> never mind this idea that the death penalty doesn't serve as a deterrent to crime in general. >> the white house also talking about stricter penalties as well for drug offenders. buzzfeed reporting ratcheting up
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penalties, invoking troubling echoes of the 1980s rush to imprison drug dealers for years or decades with negligible impact on drug abuse. how effective are tougher sentences as a deterrent. >> we already learned this lesson in the '80s and '90s when we imposed mandatory minimums. automatic sentences when you have cases like drugs that were a firearm is involved. the experiment in large part has failed. mandatory minimums flat -- i mean floors for sentences for drug offenders just populates our prisons and creates a huge demand for more prison facilities. therefore, building the entire prison complex and creating a demand for more prisons. it's a project that has failed. we can say that harsher penalties for drug offenses
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doesn't always solve the problem. >> danny cevallos, we'll leave it there. >> more on the president's plan on monday. president trump will be in new hampshire, a state that has been hard hit by the opioid crisis in this country. he'll spend more time talking about his plan to fix it. recovery crews at this hour continue to search the rubble of that collapsed bridge at florida international university. so far at least six people are dead. miami police say they expect to find more bodies in the rubble there. it has gone from a rescue operation to a recovery operation. federal investigators are now on site. questions have been raised about the new technology that was used that allowed a major part of that bridge to be constructed in just six hours. the bridge was scheduled to be opened in 2019. florida senator marco rubio tweeting, just went to kendall medical center to visit the survivors of the miami bridge collapse and to thank the
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doctors, nurses and staff for their incredible work. congresswoman louise slaughter, a democrat who served in the house of representatives for more than three decades has died. slaughter represented new york's 25th district, including rochester. she's represented that district since 1987. she was the first woman to chair the powerful house rules committee. louise slaughter was 88 years old.
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cedric, i couldn't even bowl with my grandkids 'cause of the burning, shooting pain in my feet. i hear you, sam. cedric, i couldn't sleep at night because of my diabetic nerve pain. i hear you, claire, because my dad struggled with this pain. folks, don't wait. step on up and talk to your doctor. because the one thing i keep hearing is... i'm glad i stepped on up. me too, buddy. if you have diabetes and burning, shooting pain in your feet or hands, step on up and talk to your doctor today.
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we are about ten minutes away from the white house press briefing by sarah huckabee sanders at the top of the hour much. she's% expected to receive a number of confess this afternoon about the possible% changes ahead% in the president's inner circle. there will be chemical weapons% undoubtedly ant% stormy daniels as well. lep michael steele is with us as well, former spokesman for john boehner. a number of people at the white house% this afternoon who are interested in% what sarah huckabee sanders might say this afternoon. several senior men's% of the
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administration including h.r. mcmaster, jeff sessions, the chief of staff john kelly, reportedly a neurological of them and some others are perhaps on the chopping block. what do you make of all of this uncertainty right now at 1600 pennsylvania? >> look, we all kind of get caught up in the drama of "the apprentice" white house years. these are people trying to make people's lives better and the fact they can't trust the president one minute to the next to support with them, not to undercut them in the press in some form or simply end their careers with a tweet%, telescopic horrible. it's no way to run an administration or a country. >> chuck todd from "meet the press" wrote about the president's style. quote, the styles he's just spit balling and it can be tough for anyone to figure out the difference and whether any decisions will stick.
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how tough accoucan the style be those in the white house? >> if you're uncertain whether you'll have your job at the end of the day, that's not a healthy work environment. that's a toxic work environment. the president thrives on the chaos around him and likes pitting aides against other aides. so there's infighting. there are serious, serious dangerous, national security concerns when you have this level of chaos in the administration. you don't have a lot of the necessary appointments in the state department, for example, that's a lot of dysfunction that could lead to national security implications, and that's something we should be focusing on. but it's not surprising to me that a number of the aides that were listed are on the chopping block because this administration has essentially been defined right now with the reports about using taxpayer money for first-class flights
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and meals. it's becoming defined by corruption. >> we were talking about this this morning. one would assume that it would make it% very difficult to attract top tier talent as well if you were someone who even people who feel this pull to serve their country, serve their government, you watch how it's played out over the last 14 months, why would you sign up? >> you wouldn't. and the idea you would open yourself up to illegal exposure and you would need thousands of dollars for legal protection. it's both, one, the chaos you're seeing in the news reports, and the fact that the work violator is toxic because the president is mercurial and can fire you with a tweet. on the other hand you have the russia investigation which people should be concerned about if they choose to join this team. >> president trump named the new
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secretary of state. all these positions, a lot of them, require congressional confirmation as well. how might that jam up an already-crowded legislative calendar, and asking lawmakers up for re-election to take some of these votes in an election year could also be challenging as well i would assume? >> yeah. this is going to be tough. these guys have to go through the united states senate where republicans have a single majority vote. that means they can't afford to lose a single republican senator. senator kean is being treated for brain cancer. this is going to be really hard. i would not be surprised if we winded up with a cabinet full of acting sectors because these fights will be so difficult. >> michael, as we wait for the briefing to start, this is the position you are somewhat familiar with having responded to members of the press. as we watch sarah huckabee
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sanders do this day in and day out, facing the press corps, not necessarily knowing what your boss is going to say, how challenging does that make her job? >> it's literally impossible. she has the hardest, worst job in washington right now. i think she's doing the best she can, but there is no way to do that job if you don't know that the boss, the president is telling you the truth. >> what would you ask if you were in that briefing room? what would be your question for ms. sanders? >> why the trump administration is implicated in the stormy daniels coverup, and why the second lawyer in addition nigs to michael cohen has been implicated? she's been dodging that question all week. so that is a story i want to know more about. >> michael steele, if you were in that briefing room and you got a question, what would you can ask? >> sarah huckabee sanders would be well served to draw a line
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and not answer any questions about potential personal scandals from the white house podium. that podium should be for policy, for the nation's business, not talking about pornographic film actresses and payoffs. >> we'll leave it there. michael steele, thank you. selena maxwell, you as well. we'll bring it to you live. in the msnbc. thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai!
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that's going to wrap up this hour of "msnbc live."
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happy st. patrick's day to you. katy tur standing by to pick things up. >> i'm not wearing any green. >> you are not. >> any green. >> you have time. >> don't pinch me today. >> no, i would never pinch you. >> moving on. it is 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in washington where folks inside the white house and outside the white house are wondering will today be another pink slip friday. "the washington post" suggests the president is ready to ask yet another senior member of his administration, this time it's national security adviser h.r. mcmaster. we've been hearing rumblings about the general's departure for a while now, two weeks ago my colleague nicolle wallace was the first to report the white house could oust mcmaster by the end of the month. >> the president feels emboldened a year into his

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