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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  April 2, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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knowingly met with a russian spy in the months leading up to the election. what more evidence do we need? donald trump in a t-shirt saying i colluded with the russians and all i got was this lousy t-shirt and the presidency? >> steven colbert gets the last record. "the 11 hour" with brian williams starts now. >> tonight we're just hours away f the first sense tensing in the russian investigation. also tonight new details on president trump's congratulatory call to vladimir putin and the invitation to visit the white house that we've learned about from the russians. and if bunnies could talk, deciphering what the president said today at the easter egg roll.
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"the 11th hour" on a monday night begins now. >> good evening. as we start a new week here, day 438 of the trump administration, a day of president started out by unleashing attacks on his own -- our own justice department, fbi, cnn, nbc, mexico, democrats and so-called caravans of people traveling through mexico. more on all of those later. and it all came down as we learned from the kremlin that donald trump has invited vladimir putin to visit the white house. according to one of putin's aides, the overture came during that now famous march 20th phone call, the one in which the president ignored the warning not to congratulate putin on his victory in a rigged election. that call. the president hinted on the visit during a news conference at the white house. >> we have a very good call and i suspect we'll probably be meeting in the no too distant
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future. >> the problem is much of the president's foreign policy apparatus, inside and outside the white house, was apparently blindsided by the news from the kremlin. the white house press secretary issued a statement that said in part the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in the not too distant future at a number of potential venues, including the white house. meanwhile, in washington tomorrow, we may learn more about the mueller investigations are a kind of status tomorrow, because tomorrow will bring the first real sentencing in the vex. alexander vander zwann who worked with paul manafort and rick gates in ukraine has pled guilty to lie with investigators. last week he revealed about communications with gates and a person with ties to the russian
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government and it was relevant to the russia investigation. and "the wall street journal" reports that russobert mueller looking into roger stone's 2016 claim he had met with julian assange. in an e-mail dated august 4, 2016, mr. stone wrote, "i dined with julian assange last night." the next day mr. stone publicly praised mr. assange via twitter. mr. mueller's team has asked about mr. stone's e-mail during testimony before a grand jury, according to the person familiar with the matter.
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stone tone the journal that the e-mail to sam nunberg was, quote, a joke, but he has frequently claimed some kind of contact with wikileaks and then issued a denial. joe digenova who had agreed to act as counsel and then declined because of a conflict of interest are apparently still very in contact with trump and his attorneys. here is what digenova said this morning. >> i can tell you victoria and i are playing the role of lawyers on television and in real life. we've spoken with the president several times since our response, respective statements last week and we continue to chat with his lawyers and with him. he has a complete understanding of the legal battlefield that he is facing.
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i believe that he has been victim sized by an incompetent justice department led temporarily by rod rosenstein, who i think is a disgrace. >> so there was that. while digenova declined to reveal exactly what he and the president discussed, one major issue yet to be resolved is whether trump will sit down with mueller for an interview. former new jersey governor chris christie, who for a brief time ran the trump transition team, a former u.s. attorney, gave his advice to the president for the weekend. >> as afo former u.s. attorney,e should never walk into that room with robert mueller. in the end one of the thing that makes the president who is he s that he's a salesmen and salesmen tend to be hyperbolic. that's okay when you're campaign hustle and working on congress,
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it's not okay talking to federal agents. false statements to federal agents is a crime that can send to you jail. go for more former u.s. attorney joyce vance, who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor, michael crowley is back with us as well, national security editor and senior correspondent for politico and a man usually in new york but is here with us tonight, sam stein. michael, are we living in a new age when we're not surprised to learn of the planned meeting with putin from the other side, from the russians? >> no, it shouldn't be surprising. we've learned a lot of things about president donald trump from russian spokemm russian sp. when he met in the oval office with russian representatives in
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the oval office, it was photographs published by the russians. today the russians are telling us that trump extended an invitation for putin to come to the white house. so it would be the first tripe by vladimir putin to the white house since 2005, brian. so a pretty consequential event. and but what is really so striking about this is that the white house response in part was saying, okay, he said come to the white house and maybe we'll talk about some other places, but the white house did not rule out the idea there would be a meeting sometimes in the near future, despite the fact the u.s. has taken pretty strong action to punish the russians for this nerve agent attack against a russian living in the united kingdom. the white house was not saying today this meeting is not off the table because we have concluded that russia was behind this outrageous use of weapons
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of mass destruction on the soil of a nato ally. basically treated the idea as though it was in play. finally, brian, donald trump is all over the map on a lots of policy issues, domestic and foreign policy. there is one through line clear as day he wants to talk to vladimir putin, he want to befriend vladimir putin. there are a lot of people telling him to slow down and back off, and he doesn't. viewers may think that pretty string about that. >> and we're going to get you a new microphone for your lapel. >> let's take a turn into the mueller matter. what's the chance in some sort of sentencing statement we're going to learn more about kind of a status check where they are on the timeline? >> i think that that's pretty
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unlikely. what we'll see tomorrow is the first real sentencing in this investigation. it's van der zwann. we know he doesn't have a cooperation agreement with mueller. everything has to be on writing in the guilty play plae. gaty pleas maintain this routine language that say i'm not relying on anything other than what is in this document. we do know he has turned over some key pieces of evidence to mueller. he's turned over tapes of conversation, he's turned over e-mails. we've heard that mueller's team did not have that before. his value is that even without cooperation, he could be
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compelled to testify at trial if needed since he'll have no fifth amendment privilege, no reason he would incriminate himself if he testified after he is sentenced tomorrow. he's available as a witness. whether we learn anything new at sentencing i think is unlikely with this caveat, if there is any sort of quibbling about what his conduct was and what kind of sentence he should get, then we may hear some details from andrew weisman on mueller's team who is handling the sentencing. we may get a little more insight into what van der zwaan did. >> a lot of people have been so curious he's not been at the nexus of this entire case because of his unusual life, his unusual career, he, as journalists always call him, a colorful figure. talk about the rogerer sto esto
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have covered over the years. >> let me tell you one quick story that gets at the roger stone people know. one tomb i wime i was interview outside of starbucks and he looks over to a building across the street pints oints to a root said that's the room where we met to reelect the president and that's where i took the bag of money for richard nixon. roger stone went away for a little while, he was on the periphery, latching on to candidates. then he had this history with donald trump. when trump ran for president, he was not on the periphery anymore, he was a very active player in the campaign. now that he's reemerged, it's not totally surprising that when people are digging into what
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exactly happened in the dark corners of the 2016 election and maybe if there was collusion with the russians, this is an art he's been practicing for many, many decades. >> it was said to us today you people have to stop talking about the iceberg theory. he said think about an underground colony, like an ant colo colony, it's much more vast it, goes on forever. so when we read a report there's interest in a robert mueller e-mail, do you think we're running three months behind robert mueller or six months behind reality? >> more like a couple years with roger stone. the most interesting thing about roger stone in in investigation is he has not talked to mueller.
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federal prosecutors look at three categories of people, witnesses, subjects, someone whose conduct is within the scope of the investigation and then a target, someone that prosecutors plan on indicting. typically you don't interview targets. so draw your own conclusions on stone. >> mr. crowley, if joe digenova and toensing are -- i guess the preds gets to have these two as counsel just in another way. >> you would think that the president of the united states, at the center of the most sophisticated and most important investigation since watergate, plus a guy who is a billionaire or many times over hundred millionaire would have the navy seal team of lawyers
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representing him, the absolute best. right now he can't get top-flight lawyer, he's basically got jay sekulow and ty cobb. and then a guy with essentially unlimited money, president of the united states, national security case, possible impeachment, criminal charges all over the place, it just boggles the mind that this is his leaguele team. it makes you think if and when he does sit down with robert mueller, who prepared is this guy going to be? there is this inherent -- whatever euphemism chris christie used instead of saying lying. >> mr. crowley mentions a
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better-than-average lawyer who is currently unemployed in new jersey who we saw the clip of and that's former new jersey governor chris christie. do you think at this level of play chris christie took advantage of an appearance on "this week" this past sunday to telegraph one more time to the president i know you think can you ace the interview with mueller, this couldn't be a worse idea? >> i don't think it was even that subtle, to be perfectly honest and i don't think chris christie is the only one advising the president not to do this. for a while we heard perjury trap over and over and over again. people who are close to the president and care about the president are warning him not to let his ego get the best of him and not to sit down with robert mueller. now, does it end pup he doesnup do the interview? i don't know. but michael is right, the lack
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of an actual robust legal team here is sort of a profound gamble being made by the white house. with joe digenova saying he's advising him via television but not actually the spirit of the law, is there any attorney/client privilege there? are you risking more by not being a formal lawyer to the president? >> counselor, your name has been invoked, you can rebut. >> they already have a conflict of interesting because his wife, victoria, represents mark corrala, who resigned because he was afraid he would be led into some sort of obstruction. and there's a question of when there's an issue of attorney/client privilege here.
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he's not officially his lawyer, he just plays one on television. >> we need one of those bulletin board they have on "homeland" with carrie being at the center of activity. michael crowley leaves with a complement microphone and sam stein who is in washington and attorney general advance, thank you for being with us. >> later, scott pruitt, just tonight, just over the past few hours leaving a lot of people to wonder how long the epa administrator can continue to straight. "the 11th hour" start offing a new we -- starting off a new week, just getting under way on a monday night.
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fresh off a weekend at his mar-a-lago resort in florida, president trump started the week in washington by attacking in no particular order amazon, mexico, cnn, nbc, the fbi and his own, our own justice department. the president wrote on twitter, quote, so sad the department of justice -- knnote the quotation marks -- the fbi are slow and
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not giving the unredacted documents requested by congress. an embarrassment to our country. and president trump also congratulated egyptian president al sisi today on his reelection victory that critics call a sham election. it reported al sisi won in a squeak squeaker. here to go over all of it with us, jill colvin, white house reporter for the associated press and jeremy peters, political reporter for the "new york times" and an msnbc contributor. so, jill, just today white house invitation for putin putting the
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justice department in quotes, ala enemy of the people and a congratulate people to assisi of egypt after his close election victory, dh is part of the new normal, is it not? >> it really is. we've been talking about where the president feels empowered, he's not going to listen to people around him, he's been switching up his staff, getting rid of the people who have talked him away from those positions and these are his feelings. the president also just came back from three days in mar-a-lago. he was there with a very limited number of staffers and also spent a lot of time there talking to a number of people who really kind of rile him um and bring this stuff out, people like sean hannity, whom he had dinner with, folks who he's been spend more time with and talking to more on the phone. >> jeremy, chris ruddy, who runs news max and is a friend of donald trump's and a palm peach
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person for a lot of years and he coined a pretty nifty phrase on cnn tonight, he called donald trump a "feedback junkie." do you think that phrase has legs? >> absolutely. we know, brian, from the way that he spends his timing e at t watching the television and looking at images to himself and reaction to those images by various panelists on shows. i remember being on plane and pictures of his rally flashed on the screen and he said "look at that, look at that, look how many people are there." he loves the affirmation that television provides. i think one of the reasons you're seeing the more impulsive, reckless behavior lately is he is surrounded more and more by people willing to provide that affirmation. he's spending more time lately with people like corey
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lewandowski, dave bossy, people who coined of phrase "let trump be trump "and that's what you're seeing now, trump being his truest self. >> i always ask how did trump advance today and is there any strategy that you see employed in the situation in a jeremy talked about? >> it's really interesting as you talk about that feedback loop idea, the president went really hard over the last would you mean of days talking about the immigration issue, specifically referring to the caravans of illegal immigrants that he painted these pictures of the caravans coming across the united states trying to ominously cross the border. when did that start? when fox & friends did a report on it in the morning. after all the of president tweets, the white house and homeland security put together a conference call with reporters and revealed that they're trying
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to start this new legislative push for new immigration reform legislation and it very much seemed that that effort was following the president's tweets and meant to kind of put that policy muscle behind something that the president was talking about basically because he'd seen it on tv. >> and jeremy, tomorrow baltic leaders visit the white house. there's going to be one of those planned press conferences, two questions for both sides of the press corps. in our like a good neighbor state farm is there segment, i should mention these visiting leaders will be finely attuned to vladimir putin and the moves he's been making and the words he's been choosing. >> absolutely. and it's part of the reason why the president's behavior lately has been so mystifying. i mean, he's talking about now rewarding a man who the intelligence services have told trump, apparently to no avail,
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has directly interfered in democratic process. and he as sanctioned the poisoning of a russian on the soil of an ally. the more that people tell president trump you are flouting convention, you're not doing what presidents should do, you're not behaving toward our allies the way that you should and not treating our enemies like enemies, the more he's going to get his back up and the more he is going to dig in. >> two of the great writers we lean on from time to time here, jill colvin and jeremy peters, thank you so much. we talked about this briefly, the president's comments on diamondbackia what they might date back to on his favorite television network. "the 11th hour" back after this.
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mr. president, what about the daca kids? should she worthey worry about going to happen to them, sir? >> the democrats have really let them them. the democrats have really let them down. they had a real opportunity. and now people are really taking advantage of daca and that's a shame. >> that was president trump you
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see there today. more on that bunny in a moment. his comments came after an easter sunday flurry of immigration tweets which carried on into this evening, one declaring that de ing thaing th another reading border patrol agents are not allowed to properly to their jobs at the border because of ridiculous liberal democrat laws like catch and release. and caravans coming. republican must go to nuclear option to pass tough laws now. no more daca deal! >> that was after this report on fox & friends. >> a buzz feed reporter is in that march. >> again, this is what we have
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coming to our borders. that's why it's more important than ever that we build a wall and get serious about border security and border enforcement. it speaks not only to democratic party and the leftists but to the mainstream media who was cheering these people on. they're excited about this, about what's coming to our doorstep. >> the president spent his holiday in the company of some immigration hardliners. the associated press reporting trump spent much. weekend at his mar-a-lago club having meals with his family and rubbing elbows with conservative commentators, including fox news host sean hannity. and others were janine pirro and hardliner steven miller. now the white house is putting forward its own immigration proposal as we mentioned earlier. back with us to talk about it, jill colvin, who was the author of the a.p. piece and franco
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aurd nez, correspondent for m m m mcclachy paper. >> no new arrivals of young immigrants are going to be able to get daca. daca is for people who had already been here, who arrived since 2014. as you pointed out, trump killed daca. he ended it last year when he ended the program. so there is certainly some fact checking needed. for trump to be saying that this is attracting people, technically that can't happen. the administration is trying to now say what he meant or what they're trying to explain is that the idea of daca is giving
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human smugglers ammunition to claim some type of permission that might attract more immigrants. but there's no legal way or any way that people are going to come and get daca now. >> jill, you report he is seething on the subject of immigration. when last we heard in the cabinet room, that now famous session where he called for a bill of love, he said whatever these folks from the senate and house send over here, i'm going to sign it. what happened between now and then and is it as simple as getting frothed up by the right? >> part it have is that i think you've seen immigration, gun control where the president sees some type of backlash from the conservative community, he quickly moves himself back to the right. with this we've seen a steady development where democrats have put forward ideas, he's put forward ideas, nobody's been able to reach a solution. the president was very frustrated with the omnibus
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budget he had to sign at the end of the month. and this issue is one that riles his base up and makes them enthusiastic. he's saying daca is off the table, he's no longer going to come one a deal to protect these dreamer immigrants but he wants to be able to hammer the immigration issue in the next couple of months money there is very little belief on the hill right now that any type of immigration package he is proposing now would actually be passed but now if the white house puts forward a formal proposal, things like making it easier to deport unaccompanied minors that cross the border, families that cross the border, he's able to hammer those
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points. >> ann coulter has got i don't know -- gotten attention for being a single-issue voter on that border wall. do you think that's a large part of what's at play here? >> i think is. not only was it a central part of his campaign, it continues to be a central part of his campaign-like rallies that he continues to have, whether it's iowa or wherever. when trump talks about immigration, it's often the biggest applause line. now as there's new reports of a little more of a peak coming on in immigration and fox is talking about it in the language that you showed in those clips, that's not -- that doesn't sound good for trump. i mean, trump came into office
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promising to knock down immigration, to get control of it. the first few months he was praised and he was praising dhs for lowering numbers calling 60%. well, there's a big difference from then to now where numbers are going back up, fox is criticizing the fact that more immigrants are coming and in a way that makes him look weak and it's not something that he is necessarily going to want to see. now he's going to say that i'm the one who can fix this again but if he does not, i think it could cause a big problem for him. >> something tells me we'll hear a lot more about those northbound caravans on their way here. thank you both so much for participating in our conversation. coming up, a conversation about news in the age of trump when we continue. ♪ music >> tech: ...every minute counts. and you don't have time for a cracked windshield.
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broadcaster of its kind in the us, has been forced to react tonight after a devastating collection of video from their stations around the country. it shows their anchors forced to read word for word a promotional script criticizing fake news in this case, the folks at dead spin connected the dots and all the sound. >> i'm fox's san antonio jessica headley. >> our greatest responsibility is to serve our treasure value communities. >> eastern iowa communities. >> mid michigan communities. >> we are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that cbs 4 news produces. >> but we are troubled by the one-sided news stories plaguing our country. >> this is extremely dangerous to our democracy. >> this is extremely dangerous to our democracy. >> to a lot of folks it looked
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and sounded like propaganda but sinclair is saying "we find it curious that we would be attacked for asking our newspeople to remind their audiences that unsubstantiated exists. two-thirds of their stations are in states that went for trump. your favorite local news station may be owned by the sinclair group. they've been criticized in the past for segments mandated by corporate that must be aired during local news time. that include as regular segment by former trump white house official boris epstein at least nine times a week, according to politi politico. trump simultaneous live defended sinclair and attacked other networks say, quote, so funny to watch fake news networks, among the most dishonest groups of people i have ever dealt with
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criticize sinclair broadcasting for being biased. sin clear is far superior to cnn and even more fake nbc, which is a total joke. we welcome jim warren, from newsguard, who will rate the news sites and he is one of the key stations part of sinclair purchase of tribune media, which is still getting held up and not gone through. my bias is when i watch, i'm a consumer. these are my friends telling me the news. what in your view is wrong with these instructions coming down from corporate to local anchors? >> well, it looks like a coordinated effort to proffer a pro-trump point of view the same time sinclair is enmeshed in very, very high stakes
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discussions with the justice department to let this deal go through, which includes wgn in chicago, independent meaning it's not owned by cbc, nbc, abc or fox. it's the reason many of the rank and you file reporters and producers at all these stations are very, very unhappy. we're not talking about a bunch of reflectixive lefties. we're talking about people that are important realities that a lot of people in the media forget because like donald trump, we look at cable news and forget that these stations are still enormously powerful, huge audiences and are very much trusted. wgn where i show up on the news sometimes, tomorrow morning in the chicago marnlket, they'll he a larger audience than cnn, nbc, fox and cnbc combined and when the famous network shows come on
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in the central time zone, they will have larger audience from them, too. >> what about the arguments you could hear from the sinclairs of the world, look, you have casually tossing off and coloring all your copy with unchecked liberal pablum that has gotten into the blood stream to such an ex-tentent you can'tr it anymore. >> can you make that case and in some cases there might be some truth to it. but when you look at most stations, nbc, cbs, the abc affiliate, there's not much politics at all. there's bread and butter sports, news and there were lengthy comments mad by scott skin
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claire, the key executive and he failed to address some of the qualms of his own employees and including anchors who are wondering why was i forced to make this commentary? why now? why in the midst of this wrangling with the justice department and they're certainly not helped in the slightest by the coincidence of the president's intrusion in this and his sort of intermingling his visceral, politically effective perhaps bashing of the fake news media with his support of sinclair. i suspect if you asked him tonight name five sinclair stations, he couldn't, because the feedback junkie is affixed to the sinclair news stations. i'd like to ask him, name one
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sinclair news station. name them. >> coming up next, just what was said today between the bunny and the first lady. we'll have a look when "the 11th hours" continues. thou hast the patchy beard of a pre-pubescent squire! thy armor was forged by a feeble-fingered peasant woman... your mom! as long as hecklers love to heckle, you can count on geico saving folks money. boring! fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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today was the annual white house easter egg roll, but it was so much more. there were the president flanked by the first lady and the aforementioned bunny and the permanently affixed bunny mouth april period to give the bunny a kind of permanent look of horror, shock, revulsion and surprise all at the same time. then the president said this, which had some folks wondering if he'd forgotten what the place was called. >> i want to thank the white house historical association and all of the people that worked so hard with melania, with everybody to keep this
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incredible house or building or whatever you want to call it because there really is no name for it, it is special. and we keep it in tip top shape. we call it sometimes tippy top shape. and it's a great, great place. >> up know that feyou know thatt when you hear someone say something for the first time and you know in that instant we'll be hearing about that again? today's occasion at the 1600 pennsylvania avenue building had that ring to it. remember as you listen to this, this is for an audience of children who are there with their parents. >> our country is doing great. you look at the economy, you look at what's happening. nothing is ever easy but we have never had an economy like we have right now and we're going to make it bigger and better and stronger. our military is now at a level, will soon be at a level that it's never been before. it's -- you see what's happening
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and up syou see what's happenin with funding. the funding of our military was so important and so many military people are with us today. so just think of $700 billion because that's all going into our military this wreer. >> the bunny in moment spoke for so many people. the annual easter egg roll is organized by the first lady. she and kellyanne later did read books to a group of children. the president signed some autographs. the children seemed to thoroughly enjoy a spring day on the south lawn of the people's house, the building where our presidents get to live. coming up for us, another trump cabinet conundrum. what to do about a guy who is getting a ton of bad press but at the same time is doing what the president wants done in the job. more on that when we come back. what does it take to make digital transformation actually happen?
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last thing before we go here tonight, it's like an f7 keyboard keep on compute that's we journalists use. we like to use a shorthand way of describing people to the point when it almost becomes part of their name and official title. if you don't believe us, ask the embattled epa administrator, scott pruitt. the bad press kept coming for
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him tonight. store starters, here's political, quote, white house chief of staff john kelly has considered the firing of embattled environmental protection agency chief scott pruitt in the coming month. and "the washington post," aides considered leasing a private jet to scott pruitt, and they estimated net jets of $100,000 a month proved prohibitively expensive. and then there were the condo for the low lodging price of $50 a night. there's a bad headline and accompanying bad story in the "new york times" today, quote,
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pruitt had a $50 a day kond oco linked to lobbyists, their project got approved. it's a praj to bring canadian tar sand oil to the u.s. it looks bad but they say it's patently false. and the last word on this goes to the epa defending the boss, they point out quote, from advocating to leave the paris accord, working to clean up toxic super fund sites that have been languishing for decades, administrator pruitt is focused on advancing president trump's agenda for regulatory certainty and environmental stewardship. and minutes before medical night, scott pruitt is the
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administrator of the epa. that's our broadcast on monday as we start a new week here. thank you for being with us and good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. thanks to you at home for joining us. rachel has the night off. she will be back tomorrow. we start tonight in slovenia. a beautiful country, lots of great skiing, amazing lakes, lots of castles everywhere. for americans, slovenia is probably best known as the homeland of the first lady, melania trump but slovenia played a pivotal role in american history once before when it hosted the first summit between george w. bush who had been president of the united states for about fiver months and vladimir putin who had been president of russia for just over a year. apparently, everyone was super excited about the summit,

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