tv Morning Joe MSNBC March 23, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT
know, just -- i don't even know how to describe it, the look on my face must have been so sad because i'd never been offered money like that. >> so what's the fastest way to get people to stop talking about the former playboy model that the president wanted to keep silent? take a look. >> sir, your reaction to your new job? >> well, i think i still am a fox news contributor. >> no, you're not apparently. >> well, i haven't started there yet, so that demonstrates i think the sort of limbo that i'm in because i didn't really expect an announcement this -- this afternoon. >> nominate a war hawk as your third national security advisor in 14 months. meanwhile, wall street tanked on the president's trade conflict with china while the loss of his top lawyer, that happened yesterday too, signals that he's going to war with bob mueller. good morning. it is just friday. we made it, but who knows what
happens saturday, because stormy is on sunday. march 23rd. with us here in washington we have republican communications strategist and msnbc political contributor rick tyler. national political recorder for nbc news, carol lee. new york times reporter and willie geist is in new york along with national affairs analyst for nbc news and former chief of staff at the cia and department of defense nbc news national security analyst jeremy bash. wow. h.r. mcmaster becomes the sixth close advisor or aide to announce a departure from the white house in just six turbulent weeks at the white house. according to the ap mcmaster showed up to work yesterday as usual. hours later in a phone call with the president, was he down the hall? it was clear that his time was up. he was fired. joe scarborough has been off with his kids last week but he
filed a piece on this big story of the week. he calls the appointment of john bolton a fitting conclusion to the failures of conservatism. joe writes in part this, six decades of republican overreach and corrosive causes have led to the rise of donald trump and a foreign policy run by john bolton, an economy guided by larry kudlow and a legal team led by conspiracy theorist joseph digenova. called for the pre-emptive bombing of north korea and iran while defending his role in the worst foreign policy disaster since vietnam. this was the predictable outcome of my republican party aligning its interests with the most cynical political on ray toers of our tame. the at waters, manaforts, gri gingrichs, reduced politics to a
secularized religion. remarkably order could be pulled from this culturally crisis if just two, just two gop senators had the moral courage to deprive donald trump of a ruling majority until he agreed to bring -- to heal his most destructive instincts. willie, just two republicans we need here. >> yeah, and i'm holding in my hand a copy of john bolton's wall street journal editorial that reads the legal case for striking north korea first. jeremy bash, john bolton in 2015, march of 2015 wrote an op ed in the new york times suggesting that president obama should strike iranian nuclear facilities. now he's made the case for striking first in north korea. what are the implacations. >> i think the president is assembling a war cabinet, to take a war to bob mueller. to take a trade war to china
he's got larry kudlow and now to have a real war he's got john bolton and the only question is where we find ourself in the military conflict with north korea, iran or both. his rhett hioric has been very clear. his view as you see is that we have the legal authority and the military necessity of launching pre-emptive military strike against the north korean regime. >> the closing line about striking north korea first reads it is perfectly legitimate for the united states to respond to the current necessity posed by north korea's nuclear weapons by striking first. this is a guy although he's not been a formal advisor to president has been an informal advisor since the very beginning of this administration. he's watched bolton on fox news and what do you think this signals? >> well, i think that it signals, i mean, who knows what
it signals in donald trump's mind, whether he has been reporting this notion that potentially trump has said to bolton, you can have this job, but no wars. i don't really understand that. but this is -- one thing about john bolton is he's been consistent for a long time. you know what you're getting from him. it's going to be unrestrained. it's going to be undiplomatic. he is going to make this case from unquestionably the most powerful position in the government when it comes to national security. he is, you know, you can say what you want about jim mattis. you can say what you want about mike come ppompeo if he gets confirmed. he's going to be the first person in the president's ear on national security. that position is supposed to be an honest broker's position and john bolton has gone on television and claimed that that's the role he wants to play. nothing in his history suggests that that's the role that he
will in fact play or that he truly wants to play. he wants to be the guy who shapes foreign policy and if the porn policy goes in the direction he has advocated we are going to be in for a very rough if not calamitous time ahead. >> this is a bucking bronco. this came as a surprise to people inside the white house. this came as a surprise to john bolton. and it certainly came as a surprise to h.r. mcmaster. carol lee is going to have for us just in a moment where kelly stands on all of this which i think is on very shaky ground because it appears donald trump thinks that he can do this job himself. that he can represent himself, that he can be his chief of staff, and that he can bring in voices that really back up his extreme views or his immature views as it pertains to foreign policy and representing our country on the world stage and the bigger question, is he wants to be backed up, some would argue on whether or not he should fire bob mueller and the
question is, are we one step closer to that? and michael schmidt, you have reporting on the latest attorney to leave the team. what does that indicate to you? >> this indicates that dowd is out, john dowd, who had led the president's team since last summer. >> that happened hours before mcmaster was out. >> correct. and dowd was someone who was telling the president something he did not want to hear. he was telling the president, you should not fire bob mueller and you should not go in for an interview with mueller. >> okay. >> the president believes that he can go in and explain to mueller that he has done nothing wrong, that there is nothing here, but dowd thought it could be a perjury trap and there was no upside to it and they really broke on this. dowd told someone that i spoke to that he would quit over this issue, that he felt so strongly about it and at the end of the day, dowd whose personality was grating on the president and the other lawyers on the team is gone. >> so as joe pointed out we have
now his top lawyer is definitely someone who would believe in the firing of bob mueller. >> the president is surrounding himself on the legal side of people that have pushed these agendas that the fbi made up the evidence against him. these are people that are going to be more likely to go along with the extreme views that the president may have on this investigation. the president goes back and forth a lot on how he feels about mueller, but these are people that are going to be more likely to go along with him. >> and is kelly's time running out? is he next? >> well, it seems they've reached a sort of agreement that he'll hang on now and the reason is because as the president was going through what to do with kelly and he was unhappy with him as his chief of staff, they couldn't really come up with a good alternative, and as part of that process, we talked to people who said that the president entertained this idea of having no chief of staff. so he would just eliminate that position, not replace kelly and essentially do the job himself and run it how he ran his
business, where there would be a free flow of information, open door policy, a few people would report directly to him, but he wouldn't have a chief of staff and the sort of gate keeper that was managing his time, his access to people, his access to information and for now we're told that that idea is tabled, but he certainly was very intrigued by it. >> rick tyler, it's been reported that some republicans were really calmed by the presence of h.r. mcmaster and a number of these generals. is the legislation to protect the special counsel more on high priority list for republicans at this point? should it be? >> no, i don't think it's going anywhere. i think the republicans have demonstrated over and over again and you saw with the firing of andrew mccabe that the response to that was, you know, tepid weak soup, i mean, lindsey graham had the most vigorous response to it but we got a single line from the speaker of the house -- paul ryan's office,
the senate majority leader said absolutely nothing about it. this is -- as michael is saying this is where this is going. the president is going, i believe the president is going to fire mueller. he believes he's his best lawyer, believes he's his best chief of staff. he doesn't have ap communications director. it wouldn't surprise me at all if he wouldn't replace that. he's in a sense become comfortable being who he is now as president the way he ran his business. he doesn't like to be around people who he feels like h.r. mcmaster has been known to lecture him. he said he talks too much. the same with john dowd. he's going to move those paeopl out. >> so he's got three big running the economy running the foreign policy and now on his legal team and john, obviously the change in direction here in terms of their extreme views on major
issues that impact our national security, that impact our place in the world, that impact our strategic alliances, these are all things that we can worry about, but we have to think about what's going on here and in some ways you have to think trump style which would be on a very shallow base level that pertains to money and sex, which is why we bumped in the show this morning with a former playboy bunny who apparently was a part of some effort to silence her through friends of donald trump who ran a media empire and of course, this sunday on 60 minutes, the big leadup to stormy daniels who claims -- the porn star who claims she had an affair with the president has evidence as such and claims that she was threatened by either him or one of his stooges. do you think this plays into his thinking? do you think he was trying to distract or is that too base and too shallow? >> i wouldn't -- i have given up trying to read donald trump's mind.
it's not so much -- >> but john, it does seem like ever since the stormy story broke his radical behavior has amped up. >> i was going to say, i can't really read the mind. it's like trying to read a book that's written in some language that no one understands, so i can't really say whether he's trying to distract. i do think, mika, that to the extent that we can judge the way that trump's psychology works is that all these factors are playing on him at the same time and the things that we know about how trump reacts when he feels as though he's cornered, when he feels as though he's threatened, when he feels as though things are not going his way which has certainly been the case in terms of the mueller probe and when you add in this other layer where everything about hiss behavior with respect to stormy daniels. the other day her lawyer was on this network saying that he felt like he was -- he normally played 3 dimensional chess, he
feels he is playing chess while the president's team is playing tick tack toe and not going well. when things are not going well he lashes out and he tries to -- i don't know if it's so much distract as it is that he gets in a place where he just starts lashing out and we saw that during the campaign. we've seen that in the white house and that lashing out is what's going on on one level here and the other level there's the thing that was suggested and that tyler suggested that he's assembling a war cabinet, just a bunch of people around him -- he's now in the bunker and he's firmly entrenched there. he's surrounded himself with the yes men. he's surrounded himself with what he thinks are his warriors and he's going to follow his instincts. >> and by the way, mika mentioned the former playboy model. we will have her attorney coming up on our next hour this morning. >> the shakeup in the legal team
could clear a path for trump to meet with mueller. people familiar with the process say the mover is preparation for a possible interview with special counsel. rs sos tell nbc news that joe digenova is ex- spektded to play a key role. the president reaffirmed his willingness to meet with the special counsel yesterday. >> would you still like to testify to special counsel robert mueller sir? >> thank you. i would like to. >> so he says i would like to. what is the strategy such that you can sort of decipher here from president trump's side of it and what was the push and pull with john dowd that ultimately led dowd to leave? >> i think dowd saw little upside to the interview. as we've seen with mueller's indictments and plea agreements so far, they do not take easily to any type of actual mistakes in these interviews. they -- ern if you come back in
and try to correct the record after you know you've said something wrong they've wrung you up for what's called the 1001. that's lying to federal authorities. dowd knew the president was someone who liked to talk at length. he knew he was someone that had trouble with the truth and saw this as a big problem, but the president thinking he can explain anything to anyone wants to go in and talk to mueller. thinks he can explain. the president as we were pointing out earlier believes he's his best spokesman, believes his best strategist, his best lawyer and this is the perfect opportunity to try and clear his name on the huge cloud that has been cast over his presidency since last may. >> let's cut to the chase here. is the next actually -- is the next one to go bob mueller and what's your gut and your instinct watching the patternsnd though i know you're finding it difficult to follow. i don't find it difficult to follow. i know this guy. i -- i've seen this guy operate.
i've talked to him about his pageants over the years, i hate them, and he's obsessed with money and sex. that's where he doesn't want to be embarrassed. when it comes to money and sex he's being embarrassed over sex and mueller is following the money. is mueller next? >> well, just to be clear, mika, i'm not saying i'm finding it difficult to follow. i just think it's impossible to read donald trump's trump. i don't know if he moves on mueller directly or if he tries to move on rod rosen stooein or jeff sessions or john kelly. i imagine that in this period of tumult that we're going to see major personnel changes if not today but in short order and i think he's still looking for what the right way is. he wants to get to mueller eventually i believe. if you ask me for my gut i think he wants to get rid of mueller but whether the right way to do that, which points of entry, who does he fire? i think that to me is difficult to predict. i will say that today we --
we've seen just for the sake of news here we have rod rosen stein announce he's doing a major press conference with a major announcement on cyber law enforce mts. so we could have some news that's coming later this morning on the russia investigation front that could change the picture in terms of what we're looking at and what donald trump decides to do about four hours from now. >> yeah, we were watching yesterday also the president having a little bit of trouble interviewing the head of lock heed. did you guys catch that? using -- getting the last name wrong. it appeared he read his notes wrong which is maybe something that might indicate what happened the other day when he did that phone call with putin and that is if you could argue he was trying to read what was in front of him which the president has difficulty reading. i know that for a fact and he doesn't like to read and doesn't really read, and when he does,
he needs to use glasses, and there may be an issue there. we'll show you that coming up. but given the big picture in terms of how his mind works i guess we can't try and get inside his mind. i'm not afraid to. i feel i know what drives him, but on this level what do you think is next in terms of your reporting in the mueller investigation and do you think the special counsel could be at risk here? >> well, i think that no one would be surprised if one morning or night or whenever we all learned that the president fired robert mueller. he's laid the ground work for it. i think the question is whether he does that directly and just makes a snap decision as we've seen him do in the past, if he nibbles around the edges and tries to pick off certain people around him to satisfy him in the meantime. but the other thing is we know this is a president that likes to buy time in the shakeup of his legal team buys him some time when the sense they have been very close on the negotiations of a possible interview and all of that is
thrown back up in the air. does he choose not to do anything because he's bought himself some time? maybe. i think we just don't know because he's just impulsive. >> i think we have a lot to look forward to or not want to look for ward to but a lot to cover between now and sunday, willie. >> the notion that the president would somehow is a red line in firing bob mueller is completely outrageous. there were so many red lines that have been crossed along the way. obviously he'd have to get some help. he'd have to help rob rosen stein or get rid of him and find somebody that would do it for him. do you think he gets rid of bob mueller at some way or another? >> i think he thinks if there's a way to fire him i think he will. >> totally agree. as you imagine, we're only just scratching the surface this morning. retired nato commander will join us. from the foreign relations
committee. senator ed markey joins us. as former playboy model karen mcdougal gives her account of an alleged affair with donald trump. we'll talk to mcdougal's attorney straight ahead. but first we go to bill karins with a check on where things stand following this week's noreaster. >> still chilly in the northeast and we have another snow event, can you believe another one coming down from the northern plains. this one is just a regular snowstorm. so we have winter storm warnings from north dakota, iowa, to central illinois. this extends now to the mountains of the appalachians of north carolina and virginia. snow is already beginning up in areas of bismark. california k california, we cleared you out. the burn scar areas fared okay.
but about one to two hours north of santa barbara, numerous water rescues. one dam that looked like it was about to fail and you can see the dramatic pictures here. but again, we didn't hear about any structural damage to any homes and we haven't heard of any fatalities up to this point. the snow forecast, 3 to 6 inches north dakota through the rapids. lexington and a little bit here in the mountains of the appalachians. as we go through the weekend forecast this storm will be exiting and things will dry out. i mentioned it's going to be chilly in the northeast. 50 in d.c. slow snow melt and it stays unusually chilly in the northeast. at least the southern half of the country warms up and thankfully no other storms are coming over the next two days. washington, d.c. yesterday took care of your snow pack in a hurry. that high sun angle and temperatures near 50.
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now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. appointment as national security advisor and h.r. mcmaster's swift departure is just what those trusted by the president said would not happen. nbc reported that the white house was preparing for mcmaster's exit as early as next month and there was a lot of pushback to that story. national security counsel spokesman replied, president trump said that nbc news story is fake news and told mcmaster that he is doing a great job. when the story bubbled up again in mid march, press secretary sarah huck bisanders tweeted just spoke to potus and general mcmaster and there are no changes at the nsc and then in a
massive lurch, this happens yesterday. where john bolton doesn't even know he's getting the job and he gets it and appears on fox news a bit befuddled about the whole thing. is he a fox news contributor or is he national security advisor? god knows at this point. joining us now, nbc news national political reporter, national political reporter for axios. jo we'll be talking about the markets which dropped. jonathan swan, how did this go down? because if h.r. mcmaster was in the white house yesterday, we are hearing he was in the building, and the president was in the oval, that's a short walk in the west wing. i've done it myself. so i'm sure he went down and told him in person. >> source with direct knowledge told me that the president informed him of a decision by telephone. >> so so quick that he picked up
the phone and called him and then tweeted is what we're hearing. >> i know from sources with direct knowledge that after his meeting with bolton he informed mcmaster by telephone. the communications staff mostly found out after 5:00. around 5:15. >> so the president appears to be putting together a war cabinet. >> well, when you look at the combination, this is not in isolation. when you look at the come binatn of pompeo replacing tillerson, what you're seeing here is displa displace of career professionals. the first wave of staff are the loyalists and what you're seeing here is a reverse situation where he's actually displacing these generals who were brought in to soothe all of us who were concerned about this president's impulses and replacing them with some hard core, you know,
ideologs. john bolton was one of those that advocated for the i iraq war. when you go back to make america great again, that's what made donald trump different was that he was willing to criticize george bush over that war. >> you changed all your plans to come in this morning and this is really big news with historical significance. i guess my question to you this morning would be, what's the historical parallel and i don't think it would be a boring one if there was one, but you've got bolton on foreign policy, kudlow on the economy and the legal team, joe digenova leading it up. these are people who think very much the same way who think like trump and the thinking is fairly extreme. >> you know, it would be like if fdr hired only radio personalities. you know, it's -- it's a kind of employment agency which has
happened in terms of a president whose information ecosystem comes from id logically driven by and large, cable television and i'm not trying to be clever, not trying to be dismissive, that's a clinical observation. you have a series of people who are coming in, who have pretty clear ideological agendas or at least play people who have clear ideological agendas on tv. so that's how the president knows them. and if you have any doubt and i know you have a family connection to this that the national security advisor matters enormously, all you have to do is look at mcgeorge bundy, you look at henry kissinger, you look at rice, these are enormously important positions and there are different ways to
do them. there are some people who play the honest broker, who simply take ideas and present them to the president, there are some who have a -- try to put their thumb on the scale a bit more strongly, but in each of those cases and here's my sort of undercutting my own point of view. in each of those cases the precedence were presidents who had a particular world view and who had a way of thinking about and being president. whether it was kennedy, johnson, nixon, carter, you have all these people who actually had ideas about what they wanted to do. you didn't have an entirely reactive president and what we have now is a president who's brought in some of the strongest and in some ways outside the main stream voices. >> and john, i mean, this is a national security advisor who certainly knows what he wants to do. as we said earlier he's written recent columns about pre-emptive
strikes against north korea and iran. he obviously was one of the central characters in the runup to the i iraq war making a case that there was weapons of mass destruction, has been unapologetic since the war. what is the practical impact, not just the philosophical one but you think the practical impact of john bolton sitting next othe president every day? >> i think it raises the stakes for military action around the world. i don't think there's any doubt about that. you have to take people seriously. you take them at their word, and as you say, bolton has a long record of talking about using american power. and you know, one of the things that's really interesting if you go back only ten years or so is you had a series of hawks in the -- particularly in the second bush term, george w. bush term who wanted to exert power even farther beyond afghanistan and iraq.
and it was george w. bush, rice, who didn't want to do it. it was people like bolton who did. and what you fear is that that point of view is now getting a quite unexpected second bite at the apple. >> yeah, and in 2016 people like rice and bob gates warned the new trump administration not to bring aboard john bolton. steve let me bring you in the conversation on a different topic. president trump announced and signed the $60 billion worth of tariffs against chinese goods. the dow finished down more than 700 points and china we've already seen has struck back. you know, we talk about a trade war, they're threatening to put tariffs on aluminum, pork and other goods. does this just keep escalating from here? >> it's hard to know. it's hard to know. i would just say going back to something that john said, you know, many presidents can move the world view in the sense of how they want to operate and this is not one of them. he knows he doesn't want to --
he knows that china is a problem and by the way, most people know that china is a problem. even the wall street journal thinks china is a problem but how you go about them is a different question. he put this on aluminum tariffs and then retracted most of them against all the allies everybody but china and russia. they don't know which way this guy is going to go so to suddenly launch out on all these tariffs on china without warning is destabilizing. >> most people say something has to be done about this. if not this way, which way would you approach china? >> i think there's certainly a more gradual, more diplomatic and i know people say dip plodi failed and they don't want to be in this position. they export over $5 billion worth of stuff to us. we export 150 billion of stuff
to them and they -- and the idea would be to try to get them to the table on a more graceful way. now, one of the interesting things about this is this is really not to put it in too grand terms, this is kind of a clash between traditional liberal democracy and state directed capitalism. the chinese are on a forced march to create what they call their own industry leaders, their own great companies in some of the fields that we're in and that's what they're all about and we have to -- we have to compete with that. >> jonathan swan, before you go, obviously this new hire of bolton raises the stakes for war, but the loss of dowd and the new hire of digenova raises the stakes of the special counsel possibly being focused on and fired many believe. at this point, i think two republicans are needed to really put some check on the president's power. who are those two republicans who are going to step up at this point? >> well, i believe both jeff flake and lindsey graham have
used the impeachment word, but we're still yet to see any legislation to actually put -- to secure robert mueller. >> to protect him. >> thank you very much. and steve rattner, thank you as well. coming up. >> reporter: wh-- what does the appointment of bolton mean? "morning joe" is coming right back. a golf clubthat only hits it straight... is that some kind of magic wand? not quite... just the result of dell emc working with callaway to gather data - and design best-in-class clubs, transforming the player into a bonafide golfer. oh! maybe it is a magic wand. magic can't make digital transformation happen... but we can. that's the power dell emc, part of dell technologies. whoamike and jen doyle?than i thought.
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never lose sight of your most valuable asset, the most valuable asset you possess, your personal integrity. only you can relinquish it or allow it to be compromised. once you've done so, it is very, very hard to regain it. i'd like to ask that each of you undertake to ensure one act of kindness each day towards another person. this can be a very mean spirited town. but you don't have to choose to participate in that. >> that was one of the many
wheels falling off this bus as it careens at high speed. part of the outgoing secretary of state rex tillerson's farewell address to the state department yesterday. notably tillerson did not mention president in his remarks and just talked about the importance of integrity. joining us now, former nato supreme allied commander, now the dean of the fletcher school of law and diplomacy. retired four star navy admiral. he is chief international security and diplomacy analyst for nbc news and msnbc and we are really glad to have you here this morning, admiral. so john bolton, i want to hear your thoughts and your concerns if you have any over the hiring of john bolton which happened in a lunch yesterday afternoon. this is a man who called for the pre-emptive bombing of north korea. this is a president who has asked the question out loud in front of me before he became president, why can't we use nukes? this is now a war cabinet that
he has in place, and a president who appears to be beholden to vladimir putin. so what do you think the hiring of bolton and the firing of mcmaster means right now to the future of america? >> i'm going to answer that, but first i just want to hit pause and say one thing about secretary tillerson. i thought he nailed it yesterday and i hope he speaks loudly and clearly about his 14 months as secretary of state because i think the self-respect light went on for sek retesecretary tillerson and i think what he said was accurate. break break. for bolton i have three words, sharpen your swords. he is someone who is going to reach for the military instrument and when all your problems look like nails all of a sudden you grab that hammer, he looks at the world as a zero sum game. so unfortunately the odds go up
significantly pre-emptive action in korea, a real push in iran to take away the nuclear deal, and then you've got to look at how we're going to pressure china and russia. that's where the real danger of high level confrontation is, mika. this is buckle up time. >> well, and you have to imagine what our allies are thinking right now for sure. we're all buckling up. john meacham, jump in. >> give us a little bit of compare and contrast. you now have pompeo, bolton in an office where you once had offices where you had kissinger, rogers, baker, talk us through what you think that dynamic will mean for our actual foreign policy and possibly projections of force. >> yeah, i think if you think about what the national security apparatus does broadly, john, you know this better than anybody, is that it kind of accomplishes three things. it interacts with our allies and
runs this network of alliances which is our number one asset as a nation full stop. that will be under scrutiny if not attack. secondly, that national security apparatus deters our opponents, but in a measured and sensible way. and i think the forward lean toward combat is going to be extremely concerning and lastly, you look for the international security apparatus to be kind of guardrails around the presidency because of the immense power that's vested in the executive branch. i feel like those guardrails are kind of drifting, god help us if we lose jim mattis. >> that's what i was just about to ask you. what will the dynamic be with mattis at the point? is mattis safe? what could be going through his mind that probably you don't want to answer that question but give us a sense also of the power, the national security advisor had. i believe when hi dad started it became cabinet levels and the other dynamic with the generals, the ones still standing.
>> i see very troubled waters ahead. john bolton may have a fuzzy mustache but he's got extremely sharp elbows and in that position of national security advisor, as john alluded to earlier, occasionally people try and run the band as though they're the conductor. that's how i perceive john bolton and that will not go well with jim mattis who is a very, very hard fibered marine. so look for conflict ahead. mattis has lost a real ally and a real friend in rex tillerson. it's a sad day in washington. >> wow. >> let's look specifically at north korea where it looked like there had been some movement toward diplomacy, the president accepting the offer from north korea of a meeting at the top of the chain between kim jong-un and the president of the united states. i wonder what happens now to that diplomacy when you have john bolton making the explicit case less than a month ago in the wall street journal for pre-emptive attack saying we
cannot wait until the last minute. this has to get done and the second part of the question is, what are they thinking in seoul, south korea this morning? >> i'll take the second part first. in seoul, south korea, i bet the markets will dive, people are going to feel as though the drum beat of real war on the peninsula has just gone up significantly. all we can say is, let's hope that bolton is smart enough and he's a smart individual, let's hope that he's smart enough to play against the characterization that's rolling out and to push for the meeting and to keep the momentum on that side of the coin, but i'll tell you, willie, everything about him and his past would tell you that he will advise the president to bloody the nose as the saying goes of the north koreans and then you're in a pattern of escalation which can lead us to a nuclear exchange on that peninsula. i am unconfident that that meeting will map. >> okay. chilling. thank you very much for your insights this morning.
still ahead, four communications direction torrs and now three national security advisors. who might be next to leave? peter alexander joins us live from the white house. we have much more coming ahead on this huge news day. it's only friday. and there's a lot to come till sunday. "morning joe" is coming right back. directv gives you more for your thing. your top-rated thing. that five stars, two thumbs up, 12-out-of-10, would recommend thing.
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>> are you up to date on trump versus biden? this is a big story today. joe biden was at a rally in miami talking about trump's alleged behavior around women and he said "if we remember in high school i'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him." and trump being the president took the high road and ignored it because he's too busy running the country for stupid stuff. oh, he didn't? of course he didn't. do you think joe biden when they were in high school could have kicked trump's [ bleep ]? [ applause ] based on the fact he showed up to class everyday dressed like a christmas nutcracker, probable.
this is interesting. zoom in there. i don't know military schools gave their students yelp reviews, one star. trump tweeted he fired his national security adviser h.r. mcmaster and is replacing whim a wing nut named john bolton. john bolton was one of the architects of the war in iraq. this was a war that trump said pretty much everyday on the campaign he was against, he thought was a terrible idea. now he's hired this guy as his national security adviser. this is john bolton, by the way. [ laughter ] mustaches don't always tell you everything you need to know about a person, but this one does. [ laughter ] michael bolton would have been a better choice than john bolton. >> i mean, it's what they do, but it's not a funny time. jon meacham, i want to go to you for final thoughts now characterize what you're talking about this morning, the president lost -- got rid of his top attorney on the russia
probe. hours later he fires his national security adviser seemingly hastily and hires a warmonger. is the president afraid of a storm coming and which storm might that be? >> well, there are a couple of issues here. you know, a lot of people at their best hoped that donald trump might somehow be a nixon goes to china. turns out he's just trump to goes to fox news so that hope seems to be tattered beyond any recovery. i think he is worried there is something coming. i suspect it's coming from former director mueller's investigation to use the phrase nora ephron used to use, a line from the godfather, he's gone the mattresses here. h.r. mcmaster was a scholar general, wrote a book about how generals needed to be -- stand up to presidents. one wonders if he was doing that
behind the scenes and if that didn't work out, that's a line of questioning that i think we need to go after with general mcmaster. you have a diplomatic corps, tillerson just left, you have a diplomatic ethos that is in massive uncertainty and the dow did, what, 700 points yesterday as a sign -- i think one sign of unease. one of the things i hope folks think about -- and then you have all this personal stuff coming up, the republican party as it was understood really under ronald reagan, you should the senior bush, under george w. bush, under mitt romney, john mccain was a group of people who distrusted ideology by and large. they dealt with reality as it came and right now we have a
president who has decided that he is the ideology. the state is trump. and that's how he's governing and the rest of us will be living with the consequences for a long time to come. >> you raise the implications for america and you would wish and hope and pray that he would be concerned about that but if he was he probably wouldn't be acting the way he's acting. i have to tell you, this is a guy who watches tv. this is a man obsessed with material and physical gluttony and does not want to be embarrassed on those two levels. my gut is he's concerned about sunday night's "60 minutes" piece, he's concerned about karen mcdougal who appeared on cnn last night, the "playboy" mod model. he's concerned about being personally embarrassed and he's taking our country along for the ride. it's a difficult time. jon meacham, thank you for being on the show. coming up, more reaction to the president appointed john bolton has his next national
security adviser. we have nbc's andrea mitchell joining us with new reporting on h.r. mcmaster's departure. and from russia to multiple sex scandals, the president is mired in legal drama. we'll dig deeper into the case of the former playboy model. her lawyer joins us, there was an attempt, she claims, to silence her through one of donald trump's friends who runs a media empire. they were going to give her a job in exchange for her selling her story to never hear it, to quiet it completely. she is now speaking out and that story is breaking ahead. all still ahead on "morning joe." ♪ next chapter
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with "do not congratulate." president trump having trouble with the name of lockheed martin ceo marillyn hewson and also the reality of how the company's f-35 fighter jets actually work. they're invisible, everyone. i'm not laughing, that wasn't a joke. with us in washington, we have republican communications strategist msnbc political contributor rick tyler, nbc news political reporter heidi przybyla. willie geist is standing by in new york along with national analyst for nbc news and msnbc john heilemann and joining the conversation nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of "andrea mitchell reports," andrea mitchell. also with us former u.s. attorney barbara mcquaid. a lot of legal questions surrounding the president this morning. joe posted for the "washington post" overnight, he's with his kids but he had to chime in here and he characterizes exactly what we're looking at with john bolton. trump's third national security
adviser in 14 months has called for the preemptive bombing of both north korea and iran while defending his role in the worst u.s. foreign policy disaster since vietnam. he is thinking about preemptively striking north korea while we have a president, andrea, who has always asked why can't we nuke people? >> one of the things that's so extraordinary about this is that the president has hired a national security adviser who has talked about north korea in this way and is not clear that this summit should be held and for the first time now, i'm doubtful because i think the president wanted this meeting. man to man with kim jong-un. >> the drama of it, the television aspect of it. >> exactly, but with bolton there will be caution flags. his vision of north korea and these talks is morerealistic. >> and the drum beat of war is beating louder. >> jeremy bash said that,
admiral stavridis. i was reminded there were republicans from the bush administration, condi rice, bob gates among them who signalled and warned to the new trump administration during the transition not to include john bolton as part of administration. this is something they worked very closely with under george w. bush. >> there are a number of bush administration former officials, i've talked to a number of them who where concerned because john bolton was somebody who would burn the house down. he did not play well with his colleagues and as was famously said at his confirmation hearing where he failed to be confirmed to be u.n. ambassador but served as a recess appointee the problem they see with john bolton is he's so smart. he knows how bureaucracy works. you were talking about the role of national security adviser. he is going to be right near the
oval office. he is -- >> he is so powerful, so smart. he knows the inside game. he's a knife fighter, frankly, and the person who would be most isolated by this, in addition to pompeo who agrees with him more ideologically on north korea and iran, for instance, but not on the lack of need for diplomacy. the person most isolated by this i think is jim mattis. i think this is an enormous challenge for the defense secretary who has a good relationship, a singular role in this national security team because of the respect the president has for him but now he's really isolated. >> andrea, it's e's john heilem. i want to ask you to integrate your foreign policy chops and domestic policy knowledge and explain something for me. having watched donald trump over the course of the 2016 campaign and the way in which he talked, we often characterize him as almost an isolationist. the notion he was not selling hawkishness on the campaign
trail he was selling restraint, we can't be the world's policemen and now he seems to be a year into office more hawkish and more interventionist than going to bolton to get "the foreign policy he wants" on north korea and iran. can you help me understand what has happened in the evolution of trump? if you -- and his calculation of his own political self-interest. >> i think iran is key because bolton was one of the toughest from the beginning on iran and that is an article of faith, has always been as you know well from the campaign. north korea is a little different and clearly what you've pointed out is that he is now so hawkish yet he's still the same person who wants to have diplomacy with kim jong-un. so they're not on the same page there, at least going in. i think this has to do with personality. h.r. mcmaster never clicked with the president, he didn't know
him. it was the stars on his shoulders that was so appealing and it was a mistake for h.r. to stay on active duty in that role. that's a hard role, it's never been done before. i think it's also fox tv. he likes the television aspect of this and that's what strikes me. >> he's got television he wants to compete with and that's "60 minutes" this sunday night. we'll get to that and some of the legal questions in just a moment. the top attorney handling the probe of president trump's potential ties to russia is resigning in the latest shakeup involving the president's legal team. this happened just hours before mcmaster was fired. in a brief statement to nbc news yesterday, attorney john dowd confirmed his move saying "i love the president and wish him very well." nearly two weeks ago, the president disputed the notion that he was looking into expanting his roster of lawyers tweeting he was happy with doud along with ty cobb and jay sekulow. those two should worry.
but according to the "wall street journal," dowd felt blindsided that the president was bringing on joseph digenova. according to one person familiar with the legal team's thinking, digenova, a former u.s. attorney, has claimed federal agents have worked to frame the president for partisan political purposes. meanwhile, according to the "new york times," the president is pleased with down's exit adding the lawyer's prickly personality had begun to irritate the president. so heidi has an angle on the story of the morning, rick will talk about republicans but first, barbara mcquaid. we have the possibility of mueller closing in on the president. we have the president's s sexcapades and his allegations of trying to silence women coming to the forefront, we have money issues for the president. these are the things he cares about. some would argue he's cornered at this point which could explain these lurching moves yesterday. where do you think he stands at
most legal risk at this point? >> i think it's still the robert mueller investigation. some of these issues with regard to women who are coming forward about past relationships, i don't know that the fact of those issues surprise anybody about his personal life in light of all the things we knew about him before the election but the fact of the payment of hush money is a troubling trend and i think that could even spill over into the robert mueller investigation to the extent he's looking at obstruction of justice. there's a theory in the law called a common schemer plan. ordinarily prior bad acts are not admissible to prove you acted in conformity with unless you can show you have a common scheme or plan. this is your m.o., this is how you do business. showing he pays hush money to these women could come into play in the mueller investigation to the extent it shows he was asking people to cover up his involvement in russia. so in some ways they could tie together in the end. >> and i think also if there's evidence of threatening these
women he also has a problem as well and pictures would be damning for him. it would be not be something his personality handles as well as. heidi przybyla, you're looking to a different angle. >> i reported earlier, mika, on a war powers memo that has been kept in secret essentially since this administration dropped bombs on syria last year. it is not unusual for a president to take unilateral action but it is unusual for that president to keep their legal rationale secret. when that happened congress said we're generally supportive of this but you need to come to us and outline what your view as your legal ability to wage war unilaterally and without coming to congress. suddenly that memo is very relevant, mika. and i've spoken with senators within the past day or two, senator tim kaine who has been very concerned about this, and they continue to be stonewalled
about this memo and to get any information about what this administration views as its legal powers and limits when it comes to war. >> and willie i bet senator john mccain would like to see more republicans step up at this point. >> you're probably right. back to general mcmaster. in a statement he thanked president trump and said that after 34 years he's requesting retirement from the army effective this summer after which he says he will leave public office. hours after the announcement, mcmaster attended a dinner washington hosted by crown prince mohammed bin salman of saudi arabia. mcmaster received a standing ovation after being pointed out from the stage by former florida governor jeb bush. joining us now from the white house with more on this, nbc news national correspondent peter alexander. good morning, good to see you. give us a sense of what took place inside the white house yesterday. we saw the footage of john bolton going into the west wing, having a meeting with president trump. what happened from there? >> it's been known as farewell friday around here but the
president got a jump on the weekend, making this move on a thursday, h.r. mcmaster out, john bolton. as you noted, bolton was here for a meeting with the president, he met with him and spoke with him in recent weeks. the president we know privately has -- certainly mcmaster was cautioning against ripping up the iran nuclear deal. the president has to make a decision on that in the coming days but bolton was here, he was spotted on the street, people asked him if he would be coming to join the white house that he laughed off. as he said, he was surprised by the president's announcement by tweet. we know bolton in the past has said he would join this administration but there are only jobs he was eyeing, secretary of state, that job had been filled by mike pompeo or national security adviser as well. what is sort of striking.
remember a week ago the white house said the president was not making any changes at the national security team and then this happened. similarly 11 days ago, the white house, the president himself said he wouldn't make any changes with his legal team and then john dowd was out and joseph digenova was in. so this was another shakeup. there was some thinking this could hold for a couple days. in private conversations i've had with folks in this white house there was some suggestions they're still eyeing moves in terms of the v.a. secretary, david shulkin and ben carson who is the hud secretary with two inspector general reports still out there to be concluded the thought might be there would be one big fell swoop that they did this in. instead they made this one announcement with the possibility there are more changes to come. willie? >> peter, thank you very much. willie, andrea, heidi, we're all kind of -- it's very hard to
connect the dots and i from knowing trump, known him for a long time, i don't think you connect the dots unless you look at a shallow base level. so hate to bring it up but i -- we bumped in at the top of the 6:00 hour with soundbites from the latest woman to come forward with legal al gaigss against this president. i will say i feel this president's lurchy behavior has been amped up since these stories broke and revelations and threats by these attorneys of credible evidence have come out. having said that the move to hire bolton, you have experienced with bolton, he's not -- he doesn't play fair, is that one way of putting it? it fits with trump. >> he certainly fits with trump. clearly last night there was a lot going on, there was the first interview with this other
accuser as well, very explicit interview. and now suddenly the decision was certainly accelerated. there was no question h.r. mcmaster didn't know about the timing, john bolton didn't know about the timing. i was at the dinner and it was notable there were all these former cabinet officials, former national security officials from both parties there and it was a tribute to george herbert walker bush, bush 41, john mccain, neither of them there but they were being awarded tributes for the first gulf war, for desert storm, for the u.s./saudi alliance and from the stage jeb bush accepting this award in his father's name did the shoutout to h.r. mcmaster and suddenly there was a standing ovation. it was very emotional. it was not just a polite applause. people stood and he was there in full dress uniform and it was quite the moment and then everyone was circling around him afterwards. i talked to him briefly but it
was just a moment where this man who served his country, a three-star general and surrounded by other officials and it's very clear that he knew he could not hang on because of all the leaks against him. it was beginning to harm his relationship with foreign officials as well. i think pompeo has to be concerned because as close as he is with the president with this daily briefing and their close relationship, john bolton will be the man in the next office. as secretary of state you're somewhat isolated unless you have the kinden of relati eof r that condi rice as secretary had or jim baker with his commander-in-chief, it's very hard to maintain that. when you're on the road, you're overseas about the national security adviser is right down the hall. >> and it's hard to imagine how crassly this was done. a phone call it appears from the oval offers -- oval office.
he didn't have to walk down the hall? this is a man, h.r. mcmaster, who served this country mightily, a three-star general. he wanted that fourth star, he wanted to serve, he wanted to hang in there like a lot of others tried to because they may not have agreed with this presidents or thought he was stable, they may have even been deeply concerned about his personal character, his moral compass and his ability to even handle a relationship with women and former playmates let alone world leaders and a president who seems to have some sort of affinity or fear of vladimir putin. these people were staying in there for the country, not trump and now he's been unceremoniously dumped. rick tyler, republicans you would think at this point would say this is it, i'm concerned. but so far the usual suspects,
maybe more today. >> it was nice to see the that hr mac master left with something more important than his fourth star, which is integrity intact. tillerson left with his integrity intact, not so much his stomach intact. i would love to sit here and defend that the president has every right to change his cabinet and put that more in line with his thinking and ideology. but john bolton is 180 degrees out of sync with what the president campaigned on. there's a huge part of the country after the iraq war and afghanistan that no more wars -- something that rand paul was tied into during the campaign, donald trump was insistent he didn't support the iraq war and if you go back to his statements they were equivocal, john bolton is the exact opposite. he has a right to put john bolton in. >> i think this is about bob mueller. these are all about bob mueller. >> i think it's more about who
makes me look good, who defends me on television and those are people he'll surround himself in. i can't put an ideological thread through this which would enable me to defend these but now who are going to replace these them? >> according to the reporting from people who have talked to the president and reporters in the white house, the biggest drawback to john bolton for even higher office earlier in the administration was not his ideology, as you point out, but it was his mustache, it was all about appearance and there was a lot of joking that if he saw him show up on fox without the mustache, that would be the tipoff. >> there was one moment in particular that stuck with me from the campaign trail. it was a young man, blue-collar, suburb in michigan who just spoke about how different donald trump was because he wanted to get us out of these wars, because these wars
disproportionately hurt working class families who are the sons and daughters called to serve. we have been at war for 16 years and you see people who were so adamantly for donald trump. that's a big part of why because it's their families that disproportionately pay and we're taking out someone in h.r. mcmaster who knows the face of war because he's served. >> coming up, we'll be talking to the attorney for ms. mccdo l mcdougal, the former "playboy" model who appeared live on television talking about an affair with president trump and then an effort between her attorney behind her back and possibly attorneys for friends of president trump who ran a media empire to do a trade with her, to give her a job for two years, to put her out in magazines as a woman who can write about stress and exercise
and give her magazine covers in exchange for never telling her story. and apparently there was some sort of contract she feels was illegally put together to silence her. barbara mcquaid, what are the questions for her attorney this morning? >> first off is why do you think this contract is not sflald nonetheless, she seems to have preceded anyway. i guess i want to know more about the payments, about what she negotiated directly with president trump. what were the conditions there? any insights she has about his character and fitness for office. if they spent so much time together, she obviously has insights about his thoughts so i guess legal issues and personality issues could be of interest. >> we will put those questions. straight ahead, barbara mcquaid, thank you very much. still ahead on "morning joe" -- >> if general kelly at any time decides to leave, the president decides it's time for him to move on, i don't believe there
will be another chief of staff. i think there will be five or six direct reports like there was in trump tower. i think the president is a very hands-on manager and he feels more comfortable with that. i think the structure and process general kelly put in was probably too much. >> steve bannon says president trump might not even hire a new chief of staff if kelly goes. the former white house strategist sat down with financial times editor lionel barbour. he joins us next with that and what bannon is now saying about facebook. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. you've tried moisturizer after moisturizer but there's one... that blows them all out of the water. hydro boost water gel from neutrogena®. with hyaluronic acid it goes beneath the surface to plump skin cells from within and lock in hydration leaving skin so supple, it actually bounces back. the results will blow you away! hydro boost
>> the data from facebook is just about the cost of it. that data is bought and sold everyday. >> the people didn't know it was being leaked. >> that's the issue between cambridge analytica, the professor and facebook. and by the way -- >> were you aware of that? were you aware of that leak? >> didn't even know about the facebook mining but hang on, the
point is that is facebook's business. >> that is, of course, former white house chief strategist steve bannon denying any knowledge about cambridge analytica's data mining from facebook in an interview with "financial times" editor lionel barber who joins us now. also with us, white house correspondent for pbs hour in yamiche alcindor. lionel, i want to talk about your interview with bannon but we were discussing in the break john bolton and conversations you've had with him in the past. >> i remember coming to washington a couple of weeks aven after the end of gulf war two and in a series of meeting john bolton was in and i said at the state department "where is the wmd?" i'll never forget the answer. he said "regarding nuclear, we're not talking about nuclear weapons, we're talking about nuclear capacity, that's the
nuclear mujahadeen." i said what happens chemical weapons? he said "it's been taken to syria." i said so are you likely to find anything? he said no. and i walked out with my colleagues and i said there is no wmd. >> so after he was one of the principal figures pushing the pretext of wmd he admitted to the you that there had been no wmd. >> he said it was almost impossible to find and he recategorized nuclear so he didn't say it didn't exist, but the most astonishing thing was the nonchalant we're not going to find anything. >> he's made no apology for the iraq war. including a fight with tucker carlson. he said "at the end of the day, that saddam isn't in the world, that justifies what we did." at the end of april, he'll be sitting at the right hand of the president. what jumped out at you most when
you talked to steve bannon. >> the words "it's going to be a return to trump tower." i.e. no real process, very tight-knit group of people, loyalists around the president rather than an interagency process where people -- there's deliberation and that's the kind of organized chaos which i witnessed firsthand when i interviewed the president last april. >> is he still talking to president trump with frequency? >> it's not clear. he's a little coy. unusually coy for steve bannon. >> talk about you guys had an interchange on a relatively -- from various ankles on the if cambridge analytica stuff. try to encapsulate what his posture is, it's the biggest news story of the week outside the white house but it's a big story. what's his claim about what he knew, when he knew it, what he didn't know. >> he says he did not know there had been a data leak from facebook to cambridge analytica
via the cambridge university professor. he's -- classic bannon, he turned the tables and he's saying the real issue is the amount of data that facebook has and is monetizing it and that's what you need to concentrate on rather than any data than cambridge analytica used and which, by the way, wasn't deicive in winning the election. >> it seems like the last point is the key point. as disturbing to people as this is, their argument consistently will be whatever happened, happened but this was not the reason that donald trump won, this was not in the end the decisive -- >> and by the way i think there's right on that. there's no evidence that the data leak or that cambridge analytica was decisive in winning the campaign -- winning the election. >> lionel, steve bannon told you he believes president trump is "going to war" over special counsel bob mueller. he said john dowd's resignation
is the latest piece of the putzing. do you think he believes the president ultimately will create a world where bob mueller can be fired by the attorney general, the assistant attorney general? >> i'm not sure i'd go that far. steve bannon is on the record saying the president's biggest mistake is firing james comey so i think he may well feel that the same would be true if he tried to fire bob mueller. what he's talking about is the absolute categorical assertion of executive privilege and steve bannon believes that the president's lawyers, some of the lawyers, were not strong enough in that respect so i think that's what you're going to see. a wall rather than the firing. >> yamiche alcindor is in washington. we've been talking about republicans on capitol hill saying there's no need for legislation to protect special counsel bob mueller because surely the president wouldn't go that far. what do you think gives them that confidence given what they've seen him already do in the first 14 months of his
presidency? >> i don't know if they're confident about it. i think in some ways people like to talk to this president through the media so his own party is sending the message that we're not going to put these in place because we know -- hint hint, wink wink -- that you're not going to do this. but the president in the last couple weeks as shown he's willing to get rid of career people and surround himself with loyalists. john bolton, while he might take a stronger approach when it comes to russia, for most of the things he's in lockstep with the president so he won't have someone pushing time to think about the different angles. >> do you think yamiche, based on what we've seen, john dowd leaving yesterday and the bigger news of john bolton entering the west wing replacing general mcmaster, what do all these moves put together over the last couple weeks signal about the president's state of mind right now? >> i think the president's state of mind right now is a lockdown mode. he's feeling pressured by robert mueller's investigation but also by this news about stormy
daniels and all these scandals that are surrounding the white house. what he wants is a comfort blanket. he doesn't trust -- at least from my reporti ining john kell someone he doesn't trust, he doesn't trust the process john kelly put into place so this idea that he wants to return to trump tower and return to this idea that he can govern the united states as if it's a corporation is what he wants to do. he wants to go back to kind of just being around people who agree are him and will tell him he's doing a good job and some people are saying you need to do those things differently and those people are having to leave the white house now. >> yamiche, thank you very much and lionel barber, thank you as well. coming up, she helped break the bombshell news that president trump's advisers warned him, unsuccessfully, not to congratulate vladimir putin. they put in the caps. he couldn't follow it. now the "washington post" has a new scoop that the president is having trouble finding attorneys
as his top russia lawyer leaves the legal team. but first, stormy daniels joins "60 minutes" this sunday night. there are illusions to -- allusions to potential pictures and allegations she was threatened. all of that we're waiting to hear about sunday night and so, too, is the president and his leal team. but another woman who claims a past affair is already speaking out. former "playboy" model karen mcdougal is suing for the rights to her story and her attorney joins us next on "morning joe."
♪ [cheers] that's all it takes? guess i'll bring a can of this stuff everywhere. yeah! then i'll become the world's best dad. made with real cream. reddi-wip. instant greatification. want us to do about what woulthis president?fathers i'm tom steyer, and when those patriots wrote the constitution here in philadelphia, they had just repelled an invading foreign power. so they created the commander in chief to protect us from enemy attack. the justice department just indicted 13 russians for sabotaging our elections. an electronic attack on america that the chief investigator called "warfare". so what did this president do? nothing. and is he doing anything to prevent a future attack? the head of the fbi says no. this president has failed his most important responsibility- protecting our country.
we are following so many big stories here in washington this morning. the big story that sort of rolled through yesterday late into the night, trump's top attorney on russia, dowd, out. and trump's national security adviser, h.r. mcmaster has been fired. he's been replaced, we have a new national security advisor to look forward to this morning. i believe he starts on april 9. john bolton. andrea mitchell, describe him in ten seconds or less. >> a bomb thrower, a knife fighter, a bureaucratic infighter. really smart.
super hawk. >> so we have that to look forward to in terms of the international implications as it pertains to our place in the world and our national security but what matters to trump seems to be from my knowledge of him over the past decade or so is money and sex and the lawyer for former porn star stormy daniels is turning up the heat on president trump ahead of his client's highly-anticipated "60 minutes" interview. michael avenatti is demanding the trump organization preserve all records related to his client. he says he plans to subpoena them citing "unmistakable links between donald trump's company and a secrecy agreement she signed and is now suing to get nullified." that was followed up by this cryptic tweet. a photo of a disk and a caption implying that he has evidence. "if a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is this worth?"
president trump denies any and all affairs, including allegations from former "playboy" playmate karen mcdougal. she claims she had a ten-month affair with trump, also beginning in 2006. mcdougal is suing the parent company of the "national enquirer" for the rights to her story. she claims she was misled when she entered into contract with american media in the months before the 2016 election. joining us now, the attorney representing karen mcdougal, peter stris. attorney stris, what is your client alleging to the efforts to keep her silent? >> well, i think i'll start by saying karen got to tell her story last night with anderson cooper but in my view she was authentic about credible and we're pleased we could accomplish that with the lawsuit. i think there's confusion as to
the point of the lawsuit. >> right. >> it's quite simple. karen wants to be able to defend herself in her own words, in her own voice like she did last night without american media essentially using this contract to try and manipulate, threaten, and silence her. and that's effectively what they've done for the better part of a year. >> if the contract is still in place why was karen able to go on with anderson cooper last night and tell that story? >> it's a great question. the contract was amended started with the election, it was formally amend add few weeks later to allow karen to respond to legitimate media requests. but for the past year, there's been a pattern of behavior and we have plenty of evidence that we'll show in court, that american media has essentially said, well, you know, is this a legitimate media if? a -- legitimate media request? are you responding?
frightening her with either financial ruin or other consequences if she did precisely what she did last night and it's unacceptable. >> so when you say she was threatened, she was threaten bid american media inc.? >> yes. and i don't mean physically, this is not a stormy daniels situation where anyone has said they're going to hurt her. i don't want to suggest that in my way. >> threaten in a sense that you're in violation of the contract and there could be punitive damages? >> the exact words are mass iiv financial injury or -- >> and your client has said that michael cohen, she believes was involved. that's the personal attorney for president trump. involved in the negotiation with american media inc. that suggests someone representing the president of the united states is in the middle of this. has he been in touch with your clients in the last year? >> no. the situation is simple from our perspective. she thought she was negotiating with a publishing company and
she thought she was doing a legitimate deal and when they said we're not going to publish the story, they said we're not going to publish it because we don't want to damage your reputation, we're your partner. then she comes to find out her attorney was having direct d discussions with michael cohen. it's deeply troubling. as we enter stormy sunday, we see this pattern and michael cohen is at the center of it. >> we saw the cryptic photo of michael avenatti of a disk. suggesting maybe there's a photograph. does your client have physical relationships with president trump, whether it's text messages or photographs? >> i don't want to answer that and i'll tell you why. karen's truth, as she made very clear last night, is she didn't want to talk about this. she doesn't want to make this about her relationship with donald trump. the only reason she came forward is because she needs to be able to defend herself. that's the point of our lawsuit. if people are going to lie and
say she's a gold digger, her story is incredible, she has to be able to in her own words and voice be able to respond and that's what this contract is prohibiting her from doing. >> but will she prove in court she had a physical relationship with president trump? >> well, the point -- i think there is clear evidence but that's not the point of the lawsuit. the point of the lawsuit is that this contract is the result of fraud. this krd is illegal and if this contract is voided she doesn't have to prove anything. she can go back to living a private life and respond to suggestions when she sees fit. >> john, one more question and then i'll turn it over to you. although this was a negotiation, a contract between your client and american media ining, does she have reason to believe any pressure was placed on american media inc. but someone representing the president? does she believe this was a two-person deal or that it involved someone representing donald trump? >> the irony is that the
information she is getting is the information the american public is getting. she's finding this out from reporting by the "new york times," the "wall street journal," et cetera. here's what we know for sure. we know when she went to a. m.i. brought to by keith davidson, a lawyer who has a close relationship with michael cohen. we know a.m.i. reported this back to trump people. now they claim it's because they wanted to check and confirm the story but let's be honest. they say they didn't run the story because it's not credible. this is the "national enquirer." they publish stories about people giving birth to aliens yet her story wasn't credible? the public can decide. they saw her last night. the truth will come out in court. >> some of those stories about giving birth to aliens are pretty compelling, let's be honest. i know you're saying the substance of the relationship is not the point but it's relevant
in the sense that it goes the nature of the relationship and what is now a huge political issue that relates to the president's conduct and things he was trying to cover up. there was a reporting in the "new yorker" about how their relationship came to be. talk about the ways in which she encountered what seems to have been a pretty well worked out system by which the now president of the united states conducted relationships of this kind. she was not alone, she didn't perceive herself to be unique in her relationship. talk about the way in which it seeped to be a whole architecture of trying to keep these relationships out of the public eye. >> there's a few things in that regard that are fairly uncontroversial. one is that she was represented by an attorney, keith davidson, who has clear tied to michael cohen. that's important because she had no idea.
that wasn't disclosed by him. he shaugt he was representing her, looking out for her. and he brought her to abc, and there was no money in it, she wasn't going to go be paid. she was going to go on like last night with anderson cooper. so she had no reason to believe that there was collusion. she thought he was advancing her interests yet he took her to a.m.i. and we know where that went. >> does she have anything to say about the role of keith schiller? >> it depends on what you mean by "interesting." i think she was honest yesterday that keith schiller picked her up and took her to donald trump and didn't do it once or twice, he did it dozens of times and so i don't want to put anyone on trial here but if this becomes kind of a question about who's telling the truth then i think there's difficult questions to
ask about who is protecting who and people can judge. they saw her last night. i think it's pretty clear that she's authentic. >> we should remind people, keith schiller is the long time bodyguard and personal confidante of president trump. >> why did he leave? >> has anyone from the white house, has anyone from president trump's camp reached out to her in recent weeks? >> not only is the answer to that no, nobody from american media has reached out. so i find it ironic that they issue statements and say she was always free to talk and that this is a matter of contractual negotiation when that's not -- what they say and how they behave are quite different and that is why we were forced to bring this lawsuit. at a minimum at least we have the light of day, the american public was able to see in her words and voice what her experience was. >> peter stress, attorney for karen mcdougal who alleges a ten-month relationship with donald trump. thank you for being with us.
>> mika? >> you look at this picture, the president has relationship issues, whether it's vladimir putin and his inability to have a relationship based on honesty with our national security front and center, whether it's with the people closest to him inside the white house as president of the united states. he can't keep a national security adviser more than a few months? he can't keep a relationship going with the people helping him run this country who are supposed to be working for the country. he has fired so many people the list is too long. if you believe the allegations being put forward here, he can't handle women. he has to have lawyers cleaning up his messes. in doing so, might they have threatened these women? stormy daniels claims the president tried to threaten her and there are claims from her attorney there is evidence of a lot of different things that went wrong in the relationship. and it's not about the section
here. karen mcdougal says she's being defamed, she wants the right to the story of her life back. she doesn't want to be called a liar or gold digger. she wants the right to her story yet there seems to be a deal between president trump or president trump's lawyer and the head of a media organization that owns t inquirer, which i have experience with as it pertains to trump and i've seen this pattern before. it appears there was a deal to silence her and that woman now wants the rights to her story back. she wants to speak out, he has a problem with relationships working out. coming up, from sex scandals to the russia probe, we'll have the latest shakeup of the president's legal team. plus, former ambassador michael mcfall on the president's congratulatory call to vladimir putin. "morning joe" is back in a moment.
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there was another high-profile exit from the trump administration. two, actually. john dowd resigned. when i saw the news i was like who the hell is this now? there are more characters than game of thrones on his legal team. john dowd not to be confused with michael cohen, trump's lawyer who paid off stormy daniels or mike koso witz or the lawyer who did his two divorces or david friedman or irwin durbin, who paid off the illegal when they tried to hire him to build trump tower. eventually he'll have to hire one of those spanish speaking lawyers off a bus bench. >> it can be funny. although i feel like this is a very serious time. andrew mitchell, i want to get final thoughts for you.
i'm going to ask you to swing wildly here from the karen mcdougal case. does it seem credible to you, just as a reporter who cover aid lot of stories like this, and also the story. >> mcdougal does seem credible. perhaps that's one of the reasons the president seems so angry and churning in his activities. the bolton hire was anticipated but not anticipated as quickly as it happened. mcmaster knew he was on the way out, turned down the office of the fourth star. he's threw with that. the way john bolton makes accusations, wmd. back in 2003 he accused cuba of producing chemical weapons. >> right. >> and i was in havana. fidel castro invited me, camera crew, we were shooting a documentary.
we went in and he took me into their medical facilities where they were making vaccines, which have recently been approved by the fda, they're very far ahead of that on pharmaceuticals. it was one of the weirdest experiences i've ever had, wearing a white suit in a lab with fidel castro, to disprove john bolton. >> you and castro, disproving bolton. >> you're going to hear a lot of that, a lot of unproved accusations. >> he is extreme, to say the least. >> and certainly it's a great fit for donald trump. >> yikes. andrew drooe drea mitchell, tha. new report iing on the president's legal drama and the trouble he's having finding lawyers who represent him in the russia probe. plus former u.s. ambassador nick burns with reaction to the president appointing john bolton as national security adviser. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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for 15 years and haven't won anything. iraq is harvard for terrorism. you want to be a terrorist? go through iraq. you could put it in as the worst decision ever made in the history of our country. >> president trump hammering the policies pushed by his new national security adviser, john bolton. welcome back to "morning joe." it is friday, march 23rd. a lot has happened in washington. with us here, nbc news national political reporter heidi pryzbyla. willie geist is in new york, jon heilman is with us and member of the foreign relations committee, senator ed markey of massachusetts, former u.s. ambassador to nato and u.s. department spokesman nicholas burns is with us, professor of diplomacy and international relations at the harvard kennedy school of government. h.r. mcmaster becomes the sixth close adviser or aide to announce a departure in just six
turbulent weeks at the white house this is what joe has written in his column he posted late last night for the washington post. because what happened late yesterday is such a stark, lurching change inside the white house. you wonder exactly what happens caused this, what happens prompted this. we have followed over the past year a pattern on the part of this president where he has often made news to deflect from headlines he doesn't like. and in the headlines over the past 24 hours and until this sunday are two women who have legal claims against him pertaining to sex and the president's alleged attempts to silence them. and the president's behavior, some might argue, has amped up since those storms have heated up. here is what joe writes in "the washington post," six decades of republican overreach and corrosive causes have led to the rise of donald trump, and a
foreign policy run by john bolton, an economy guided by larry kudlow and a legal team led by conspiracy theorist joseph digenova. trump's third national security adviser in 13 months has called for preemptive bombing of both north korea and iran, while defending his role in the worst u.s. foreign policy disaster since vietnam. this was the predictable outcome of my republican party, aligning its interests with the most cynical political operators of our time. the atwaters, manaforts, gingriches and roves leveraged a weaponized media culture that reduced politics to a secularized religion and consolidated political power and material wealth in the hands of its richest donors. remarkably order could be pulled from this culturally calamitous
crisis if just two gop senators had the moral courage to drive trmp of a ruling majority until he agreed to bring to heel his most destructive instincts. willie geist, put in place that would protect the special counsel and a lot of people high up in the intelligence community feel like there is a focus on the special counsel on the part of the president and that he might fire bob mueller. >> yet this week we heard republican after republican on capitol hill saying that kind of legislation is not necessary because that's a red line president trump will not not cross. what gives him that confidence, we don't know. two weeks ago, president trump's newly named national security adviser says he believes there's little point in talking with the north koreans. here is what he said. >> i think this is potentially a meeting that begins and ends with the president saying, tell me what you're going to do to denuclearize and kim jong-un saying we'll have talks about this and talks about that.
it could be a long and unproductive meeting. >> in the wall street journal last month, bolton advocated for launching a preemptive strike on north korean facilities. ambassador nick burns, what does this move mean, john bolton at right-hand of the president of the united states, what are the implications? >> willie, i think it means a couple of things. first, he will be the most experienced person in the room. he has a lot of experience at the state department, at the defense department, in the justice department. he was ambassador to the u.n. he knows the world, number one. number two, he is a lot tougher on russia, always has been and was this week, than donald trump. bolton is also kind of an intractable, bull dozer type of person. i've known him very well. i've worked with him. i've clashed with him. i think he and trump will clash over russia. he tweeted out why isn't nato doing more to react to the nerve agent attack in the uk. the answer is donald trump hasn't led nato to do that. there's a clash coming there.
most importantly, we may be on the verge of two nuclear crises in the next couple of months, almost inevitable now that the administration, very unwisely, will pull out of the iran nuclear deal that. will unravel the deal. iranians will very likely, under the influence of revolutionary guards, ramp up their nuclear program f he wants to give an ultimatum to kim jong-un in the very first meeting ever between a u.s. president and north korean leader, you think that continues, too. do we want two nuclear crises in the space of two months? i think this is very bad news. >> op-ed from john bolton about north korea, three years ago when president obama was in office, imploring that president to launch preliminary strikes on nuclear facilities inside iran. do you worry about some military confrontation, not just with north korea, but also with iran? >> well, john, if you look at
his past and the positions he has taken both inside government but also as a fox commenter outside of government, he believes in force of arms. he doesn't believe that diplomacy can be practical and successful. his version of diplomacy tends to be sledge hammer diplomacy. either do it our way or else. that just doesn't work in the modern world. it certainly is not going to work with the iranians. and this iran problem is going to be substantial for us. it's going to create a big gulf between the united states and britain, france and germany, as well as russia and china. it puts us back, unfortunately, 15 years to the week that we invaded iraq possibly in another middle east war. i hope that's not the case. but if you look at the past record and look at the president's proclivities and those of mike pompeo this is a potentially combustible mix. >> one of his proclivities is to watch cable news a lot and loves
fox news where john bolton -- he doesn't even know to this point hours after this happened exactly what's going on. take a look after the president talked to john bolton. he went to fox news. then the president picked up the phone reportedly and called mcmaster, who might have just been right down the hall to fire him. here is john bolton. not really sure just what happened. take a look. >> sir, your reaction to your new job. >> well, i think i still am i fox news contributor. >> no, you're not, apparently. >> i didn't -- >> well, i haven't started there yet so it demonstrates the sort of limbo that i'm in. i didn't really expect an announcement this afternoon. >> wow, okay. as nick burns, ed markey, pointed to two nuclear crises that could be on the horizon, given the hiring of john bolton, let's back up a little bit.
let's look at the mueller probe, the president's pattern of behavior, given the legal questions raised about him, potentially putting him in a corner. are we headed toward a constitutional crisis? are you worried about that? >> if he fires robert mueller. >> are you worried about that? >> without question. he is absolutely right now indulging his worst instincts, both here domestically and in his foreign policy. he is going to a much more radical approach in both areas. and if his intention is to go to war with robert mueller, to bring in war-time concilliaries, thinking john dowd is too conservative. >> who hours before has just left. >> who has left, then we're headed toward a situation where republicans are going to join with democrats, if he does fire robert mueller. >> do you feel -- have you talked to republicans behind the
scenes? do you feel this will be a tipping point? do you think they will see there's a true concern here about the special counsel? >> no question. they know that if he does this, that he is trying to short circuit, in the same way richard nixon tried to short circuit the investigation of him by firing archibald cox and elliott richardson. that it's going to invoke the responsibility of the congress to ensure that there is, in fact, a constitutional process which is in place to ensure that this investigation continues. and if he does it, there's going to be a political firestorm on a bipartisan basis that will erupt that will, in fact, lead to that constitutional crisis. >> ambassador, heidi pryzbyla here. we've spoken about bolton's employment. there are many hot spots around
the world. take you to bolton's comments saying there's no such thing as a u.n. to a june 20 op-ed where he says how to back the palace -- how to block the palestinian statehood ploy. palestinian statehood called a ploy. can you speak to the implications to our relationships with our allies and other hot spots around the world? >> a lot will depend on the new secretary of state, when he's confirmed, secretary pompeo, and jim mattis. they're going to be -- they have the heavyweight appointments in the national security cabinet. the united states, we're powerful. we can get our way in the world. we can't have our way always 100%. diplomacy means you can achieve what you want. you can push american -- the american agenda forward but you've got to compromise and sometimes other people have to win as well. that tends not to be john's approach when he was ambassador to the u.n., i was undersecretary of state. i worked with him on a daily
basis. he tends to be -- he wants to win everything and by a score of 100-0. it depends on pompeo and what he's going to do. under rex tillerson, and jim mattis was kind of a blocking coalition. pompeo is a smart guy, a politician. he will need to win the state department back, the rank and file in the state department. i don't think it's inevitable that john bolton writes the foreign policy of this administration. he reinforces the worst impulses of donald trump. but if pompeo and mattis can be a little more sophisticated -- mattis will. i hope pompeo will, how we work in the world, how we treat our allies, then i think we avert some of the worst case scenarios we've been talking about. >> jon heilman here. i want to ask you about another big story this week, facebook crisis, cambridge analytica scandal. you said facebook, along with
other colleagues, that you need to get more information from them. i want you to take a bigger step back from it a little bit and ask you the question, a very important company to american economy and society. we've seen mark zuckerberg and sheryl sandberg come out and go on camera in the last 48 hours and address the crisis, the data breach and so on. do you feel as though in the way that they've confronted it, the way they've talked about it that they are treating it with the kind of seriousness that you think they need to? >> well, it's good that they are doing tv interviews. it's good that they're doing blog posts but they have to come to congress. they have to testify. when we had the oil spill in the gulf of mexico in 2010, the ceo of bp had to come and explain how an oil spill could occur with safety protections in place. here, we've had an historic data spill. and similarly the ceo should
come to congress. 50 million americans' privacy has been compromised. and bp was under a 2011 consent decree with the federal trade commission saying they would receive permission from the 50 million people before any of their information would be shared with anyone. they've been on privacy probation for seven years. this is clearly something that has led to, i think, an eruption of concern by americans that they have no privacy online, that their data is for sale, can be used without their permission. >> in some ways it feels like there's some parallels to too big to fail and the banking crisis, where he had ceos pushing back saying no, no, no, we can do this. you have these tech companies, not just facebook. i don't know how they put the toothpaste back in the tube here. everybody's information, just like everybody's money, is being
jeopardized here. >> and it is. and that's why it leads to a larger debate. is every american actually in this online world entitled to a privacy bill of rights? i think they are. knowledge that all this information is being gathered about them, notice that it's being reused for purposes other than that which they had intended and, thirdly, an importantly, the right to say no. it's knowledge, then notice, then the right to say no. right now they don't have that. we need a debate now as to whether or not this technology, best of technologies and the worst simultaneously congress needs public policy to put in place to safeguard against the xrms of the most intimate information that americans put online. >> back now to the presidency, ambassador e close out here the first block of the 8:00 hour, a lot has happened the past 24 hours and there are a lot of questions surrounding
this presidency, legal questions, questions about our relationship with russia, questions about the status of our election process, questions about whether or not the president mistreated women in some way and legal questions closing in on him. and we're following them as we look down the barrel of a new national security adviser this morning, who has very extreme views, hired apparently off cable news along with the guy who will run the economy and the guy running his legal team. for us, it's a big process to deliver the news but for our allies and for leaders around the world, what are some of the thoughts that they are having at this point? what are you hearing abroad, from abroad? >> you know, mika, i must say, i think the rest of the world, particularly our allies, are worried about us. i've been in europe a couple of times in the last few months. the president is attacking our
allies. he's diminishing the european union. he is running a foreign policy where we're running away from our alliances, away from sensible policy on trade. and then you combine that with this erratic, impulsive, dom nearing behavior in the white house. so much rides on the united states. we're still largest economy, strongest military, most influential country where the global leader. yet we're not acting like it. china and russia rising up to challenge us. we're not meeting the challenge. the president had this extraordinary phone call with putin where he does not raise the nerve agent attack, doesn't raise russia interference in our election. it's all buddy buddy. it's like he's not even defending us. i think the allies are unnerved by this, angela merkel, emanuel macron of france. it's a staggering time.
welcome back to "morning joe". joining us now dr. ellen farkas, nbc national security analyst. professor of political science and director of the institute for international studies at stanford university, former u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul. and nbc news national security and military reporter, courtney kube. good morning to you all. ambassador, you woke up the earliest. >> yeah. good morning, everyone.
>> i'm going to start with you and ask you about the move to have john bolton move in as national security adviser. you said in a tweet four-star general mad dog mattis is the lonely dove as you called him. we asked a lot of people who worked alongside john bolton, people who served the country in the national security area what they thought this move means. what do you believe john bolton means to national security and foreign policy of the united states? >> well, i'm disturbed by t i'm scared by it. i didn't work with him in the government but see him around the conferences and circuit. in fact, we're supposed to debate each other monday in monterey, california. my guess is that he has other things to do now. but, you know, he is a man of convictions. he has very strong views. he has very strong theories about what should be done in terms of american foreign policy. and i think they're fundamentally flawed. the main one that scares me the most is that he believes strongly in the u.s. of american
military power to achieve either denuclearization in the case of north korea or regime change in the case of iran and north korea. i think that is fundamentally flawed, the u.s. of american power to achieve that end will be a disaster. therefore i hope that the rest of the system will be able to constrain him. he is coming in to do things. there are people that come into the government to join things and to be things. i did this and that, i had this office. they are perfectly content with that. that is not bolton. he is taking this job to do things and that scares me. >> what about your specific area of expertise, russia? he has been very strong, speaking out against russia recently, crossing president trump, at least in that area. do you think he will be a counterweight to the president in terms of confronting vladimir putin? >> well, his views are very different from the president's. you're absolutely right.
i've heard him many times on that topic. he is different from the president. my prediction is he is more concerned on iran and won't waste his political capital with the president arguing about russia. i think he will change his views on russia because he wants to use all of his influence in these other two areas of interests for him. >> courtney kube, it's been in the atmosphere since nicolle wallace first reported it that hncht r. mcmaster, eventually, one way or another, was on his way out. it does seem to have happened quickly, yesterday anyway, as we saw john bolton walk into the west wing and we're told president trump made a phone call down the hallway to mcmaster to let him know he had been relieved of his job. what more can you tell us about how it happened yesterday? >> yet another impulsive move by president trump, another staff shakeup. at least this one, it doesn't appear that h.r. mcmaster was informed by tweet.
>> progress. >> as secretary tillerson was. >> a phone call. >> progress from what we saw last week. this has been a long, slow march toward the door for h.r. mcmaster. we've been reporting on it for months. the names -- there have been a slew of different names out there who might replace him. nicolle wallace's reporting you mentioned, was steve began, nsc republican operative. i have been told by administration officials that secretary mattis was in favor of him coming in, and that he was not consulted about john bolton being the national security adviser. so, you can -- you know, you could make the argument that secretary mattis wouldn't necessarily have to be consulted for national security adviser. but i have to pick up on something that ambassador mcfaul said about john bolton and being reined in. look at his last job he had in an administration when he worked
under george h.w. bush, when he was up at the united nations. he was throwing bombs. we keep hearing about him being a bomb thrower. he made a lot of comments that were controversial. he always had secretary of state comdi rice there to rein him in as his boss. they reportedly had a strained relationship at the time. now he is there, in the white house. he has the president's ear. he already seems to have a better relationship than h.r. mcmaster ever had. everything we've heard from administration officials is that mcmaster never really had a good relationship with president trump personally, that the president was somewhat dismissive of him, that mcmaster was too cerebral, too into the details for president trump and that because of that, they never really clicked. i think we should all be watching for alliances. i'm going to make a reference to "the hunger games," whose alliances will we see with john
bolton in the president's ear? secretary mattis and pompeo, if and when he is confirmed secretary of state. the two of them will be ones that will break off and sort of try to rein in president trump against this constant drumbeat of war that i suspect we'll be hearing out of john bolton, specifically with north korea and iran. and other big foreign polishes that we don't know where john bolton stands on, like afghanistan and reconciliation with the taliban. >> anyone who tries to rein in trump risks getting fired. we know mcmaster was outspoken in his opinions and tried to stand up to the president. if you look at this big picture you have -- joe posted a piece late into the night in "the washington post" about what this latest move means. we had nick burns on our show, saying this clearly steps up the possibility of nuclear crises,
multiple nuclear crises. admiral t schlt achsavrides bac those claims and ambassador mcfaul said i'm scared by it, bottom line. do you have a question for evelyn? >> you recently told the atlantic council that you hope that bolton won't put his finger on the scales toward military intervention. we're being told that the timing on this in part, has to do with the fact that the president wants him in place for these north korea talks. just last month he penned an op-ed calling for a preemptive strike, outlining the legal rationale. it seems as if it's time for congress to step uppity oversight role here. what kind of a check can congress provide at this time? senator markey said at 1:30 in the morning, senator corker was on the floor, saying now is a time to have a conversation about a new aumf. >> right. first of all, it's really
important to note that john bolton is a unilateralist, not in favor of multilateral diplomacy. he has never been one to defend the international order, which has worked very well for us since the end of the second world war. i think with how he might operate, unfortunately, he will advocate more unilateral options. the other thing is, what you mentioned and quoted me as saying, he is a guy who likes to advocate use of military force and is likely to put his finger on the balance in favor of use of force. the third thing i mentioned, he's skeptical about negotiate ing nonproliferation. opposite of use of force, negotiating countries out of their nuclear chemical biological weapons programs and also skeptical about arms control, really important in the context of russia, even though i'm skeptical we'll get arms control. often times you have to try just to keep things tamped down and reduce the risk of miscalculation. so i think all of this means
that when you look at north korea, which was your question, and given everything he has written about north korea, the north koreans have to be nervous and our agent allies have to be nervous. john bolton is a guy who was effectively banned from the bush era negotiations by the north koreans who called him a blood sucker and scum because he was very undiplomatic as a diplomat. >> he couldn't get confirmed by republican senate, right? >> didn't get confirmed by republican senate and his own team said you're not participating in negotiations with north korea. what you hear from republicans -- i was talking to some republicans who know how -- what the dynamics in the white house are, last night. they were telling me it's interesting because there's the personality issue. john bolton, not only does he advocate policies of throwing bombs but he's a verbal bomb thrower and the president is also one who is known to have a bit of a -- have some flare-ups
and be very verbally -- >> that is putting it mildly. jon heilman, jump in. >> mike mcfaul, i want to ask you this question. you know your way around and it and have been in administrations to know how things actually work. the thing about bolton, it's aki kind of a unique and also incredibly skilled infighter he's proud of t he said i know my way around bureaucracy. i know how it can stall things. i'm not going to put up with that. i know how to make stuff happen. talk about how lethal a combination that can be in any circumstance when you have a strong-willed person who is a skilled political infighter. particularly in a circumstance where there is so much chaos and
so little kind of bureaucratic and structural constraints. >> it is lethal, i agree with you. he doesn't believe in the interagency process. he believes that he's right about his convictions and if you don't agree with him, you're wrong. i've had that interaction with him myself. number two, remember the job he has been hired for. he is the national security adviser. sitting at the white house, whose job is to mediate and to be an honest broker without -- within the interagency process, right? he sits in the white house situation room. secretary of state on one side, secretary of state of defense on the other. the rest of the parts of the national security council there. and he's supposed to be the one that brings ideas to the table. in this case, he already has all his ideas. he knows what is to be done. so that is not structurally a very good fit. the other thing i just want to say, i just heard willie --
somebody report eed h.r. mcmast got a phone call. the office is literally 100 feet from where the national security adviser sits. that's embarrassing to me that the president can't walk down the hall to dismiss h.r. mcmaster. two things about that are important to me. one, why is hnc.r. mcmaster bei removed? he's too cerebral? paying too much attention to details? it worries me that he's putting together a team to go to war or have military conflict with north korea. that west wing is really tiny, really small space. bolton is the guy that gets to talk to the president every single day. >> yeah. ambassador michael mcfaul what you just said, by the way, about that phone call and how disturbing it is, i'll tell you, the president, if you look at the entire picture of the day, was lurching toward this hiring and firing. john bolton looked confused on fox news as to the fact that he
got the job yesterday. mcmaster got a phone call. the president was so quick to tweet, so quick to work on making news. there's a pattern here many believe he's trying to distract from things that really bother him, whether it's porn stars, playboy models, legal implications or the mueller probe. ambassador michael mcfaul, thank you very much. this is truly disturbing. dr. evelyn farkas, thank you. courtney kube, thank you as well. thank you all for joining us. we're watching the markets after a dizzying day on wall street, the dow plunged over 700 points on fears of a trade war. we'll check in with cnbc next on "morning joe."
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some view the deal as making america perhaps fiscally weaker in the wake of those tax cuts. the hope, of course, is that economic growth due to those measures will help to pay for the cost of them overall. if you look at the way that markets are trying to handicap things it comes down to whether trade will have an overall impact on our economy. over the last couple of weeks, you can tell the kind of stocks that have been really, really part of the conversation are the ones that do a lot of business with china. we're talking names like boeing on the airplane side or caterpillar, when it comes to construction equipment. those types of companies are in the crosshairs when it comes to traders and investors handicapping whether or not these tariffs could have a big impact on the market. that's arguably what's driving a huge part of the conversation right now. i would also point out one of the biggest developments, interestingly enough, with regard to a very big topic, which is gun debate, these days it's coming not from washington or state legislators but citi
bank group. new retailers that do business with it will need to make sure that buyers pass background checks for guns, 21 years or older and they won't be able to sell high-capacity ammunition magazines or bump stocks that help to accelerate the rate of fire. this is largely symbolic since it won't be a part of the bank's business. will other lenders and banks follow suit? citi ceo says the new policies are designed to respect the rights of upon gun owners but trying to keep the guns out of the wrong hands. he, himself, says, is a gun owner but wants to make sure this is the right thing to do. guys? >> dominic chu, thank you very much. >> up next as thousands of students protest gun violence this weekend, msnbc looks back at the civil rights movement with an impressive new documentary. and saturday's march for our lives straight ahead on "morning
grown adult protesters get attacked, media covers it. after a while the tactic doesn't draw the media any more. what can i do now? that's when they decide to have the children's march. >> 1100 children in birmingham that demonstrated in the streets went to jail and then were either suspended or expelled from school. >> following dr. king's tactic of going to jail deliberately. unlike albany, supply of recruit for the nonviolent army was unlimited. >> little preview from the new documentary "hope & furry: mlk, the movement and the media" airing this saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. 1963 children's march in birmingham, alabama, was met by fire, hoses and vicious police dogs, spurring headlines across the country, helping to sway public opinion in support of the civil rights movement.
now today, america's youth is mobilizing to protest against gun violence, spark bid last month's deadly school shooting in parkland, florida, and following last week's national school walkouts, more demonstrations are planned for this weekend. joining us now, president of the national action network, noted cigar smoker and my friend, reverend al sharpton. heidi przybyla is still with us. rev, talk to us about what's going to happen this weekend. we've seen so many school shootings, so many incidents of deadly violence where people have said we've got to change. we've got to do something. then it fades away almost instantly. this thing, parkland is not very far in the rear view mirror but this energy seems to have sustained and these kids seem to have a lot of momentum going into these marches this weekend. >> i think that the young people, the high schoolers, have shown a real durability so far. and i think it's because they
are young and passionate. but also determined that they don't want to see the pace change. i know some of our youngsters in national action network are going down by bus. then there are rallies in satellite cities. this is the kind of determination i saw when i was a kid. i was 13 when martin luther king was killed but was youth director of his new york chapter. i didn't know him well but was trained by his lieutenants. they used to always say that the way you win is by sustained indignation. that's what they're showing this weekend, that nathey're not jusa one or two march, they're a real movement. >> on the other side, the movement side seems, to me, unusual in the sense that there's more energy, more momentum and so on. on the other side it seems like the status quo is holding sway, which is to say washington, our elected representatives, are trying to ignore this.
i'm curious whether you see any signs that there -- that this pressure that's been sustained and that is going to continue, at least through this weekend, the pressure is starting to create any cracks in the wall of opposition to do anything about gun violence. >> no, i do not see any cracks. as i said to some of the young leaders i've talked to, that that could be a good thing. the footage you use from the documentary that we're all in this weekend about king, i was told by king's lieutenants that mentored me, they combed the south, looking for the right city. they went in birmingham because they wanted somebody that was obstinate. it helps to build a movement because they would not cave or they would not even try and in some ways look like they were reaching out. the inflexibility of the trump administration, the inflexibility of some of those in congress on gun laws may be
the very thing you need to build up to an election year so people will say, wait a minute. you're not going to do anything? you're not listening at all to these mass shootings. their could lead to their defeat. i think it could work on the behalf of those of us who want to see gun legislation. >> heidi, jump in. >> one of the biggest myths about the power of the nra is that power is in the form of money. when you look at the money it disperses in congress, it's actually small amounts across many lawmakers. its real power has been the intimidation tactics, has been the people showing up at town halls. do you see these kids and all the people who are going to take to the streets protesting, forming this into a more permanent infrastructure to hold members to account ahead of 2018? because this is a dramatic juxtaposition with these children in the states and with the omni spending bill that just passed which essentially did nothing to improve -- to expand
our background check system. >> i think that's where the challenge is and that's where they need to go. they need to be able, after having the huge showing tomorrow all of us will be in washington for, they need to be able to break it down to where they invade the town halls and where they announce mass voter registration as you turn 18. then you begin to match the nra. that's what dr. king's movement did. that's what we did in the north when we brought a lot of dr. king's tactics. because then you have people that are in power that have to make a choice against your bloc of voters, your being at town halls and the right wing. as long as you're just outside, those inside don't have to make the decisions to consider you. if you become one that has an outside/inside strategy, that's where you check mate the nra. >> reverend sharpton, thanks. hope and fury, mlk, the movement
and the media, it is tremendous. it airs this saturday at 8 p.m. eastern on nbc. up next, a look back at this head-spinning week in the news. keep it here on "morning joe." i had frequent heartburn, but my doctor recommended... ...prilosec otc 7 years ago, 5 years ago, last week. just 1 pill each morning, 24 hours and zero heartburn. it's been the number 1 doctor recommended brand for 10... ...straight years, and it's still recommended today. use as directed. ♪ ♪ excuse me, are you aware of what's happening right now? we're facing 20 billion security events every day.
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fitting conclusion to the failures of conservative. >> a number of former bush administration officials who are very concerned about this because john bolton was basically somebody who would burn the house down. >> john bolton was at the end of the afternoon, and i remember saying, so, likely nothing to be found, and he said no. >> he's going to be the first person in the president's ear on national security. >> i think the president is assembling a war cabinet. >> john bolton may have a very fuzzy mustache but he's got extremely sharp elbows. >> what would you like to testify to special counsel robert mueller, sir? >> thank you. >> the president believes he can go in and explain to mueller he has done nothing wrong but a perjury trap and there was no -- >> after we had been intimate, he tried to pay me. >> the payment of hush money is a troubling trend. i think that could spill over
into the robert mueller investigation. >> carrie wants to be able to defend herself in her own words. >> has anyone from president trump's camp reached out to her in recent weeks? >> not only is the answer to that no, nobody from american media has reached out. >> he's concerned about being personally embarrassed and he's taking our country along for the ride. it is just friday, we made it. stormy is on sunday. >> we're going to go to final thoughts now on this incredible morning, the day after the national security adviser was fired, new national security adviser has been hired, john bolton, and before that, the attorney for the president's russia defense, also left the white house. i will just say that saturday doesn't bode to be a very boring easy day for anybody in the news business because my gut is willie geist, that the president is trying to deflect from
sunday's big storm, stormy daniels on "60 minutes." >> well, with all the news you just laid out and all the people we heard from today, john bolton, i'll go to the thoughts from richard haass. donald trump now set for war on three front, political versus bob mueller, economic versus china and others on trade and actual versus iran and north korea. this is the most perilous moment in modern american history, largely brought about by ourselves, not by events. >> john heilman. >> be afraid, be very afraid. >> i am and so is ambassador mcfall, heidi, it's been stunning to hear from national security expert, people with experience on the world stage and secrets about our strategic alliances who are visibly disturbed by the events of the past 24 hours. >> and many of them republicans. many of these advisers have been on the fringes.
i also want to pivot to sunday, mika. i want to remind everyone this is not about donald trump's extramarital affairs. we all knew about that going into it. it is how the women were treated. whether they were pressured, intimidated and, in one case, maybe even physically threatened. >> i mentioned a few hours ago during our coverage that the president has massive relationships problems. he has a problem with his relationship with women. he has a problem with his relationship with vladimir putin. his relationship with russia. he has a problem with his relationship with bob mueller. and he has a problem with his relationships with the inner circle inside the white house, even the top members of his team. he can't keep a national security adviser for a year. he can't keep a national security adviser for months. he can't keep the leaks from coming out of his white house even hours after his massive fail on the phone with vladimir putin. these are perilous times.
that does it for us this morning. katie tur takes up the coverage now. >> the white house revolving door keeps spinning. h.r. mcmaster is out and the president taps controversial war hawk john bolton as his new national security adviser. >> he wants to go to war first. diplomacy second. >> but that is not all. a major shake-up on the president's legal team could clear the way for an interview with special counsel robert mueller. marching for their lives. thousands of students descend on our nation's capital ahead of tomorrow's gun reform march. >> the march is just the beginning until we get politicians to do what we want and to do what's right. breaking overnight -- shutdown averted. the senate passes a $1.3 trillion spending bill with hours to spare. next up,