tv Morning Joe MSNBC April 18, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT
republicans have an all-party rule. >> all right. thank you very much. we're going to be reading axios. >> enjoy your birthday. >> to all of our viewers out there, you can sign up for the newsletter at axios.com. >> seems like everyone's wishing you a happy birthday. it ends here my friend. that's us for this morning. "morning joe" starts right now. what do you make of the sanctions walk back? >> confusion. saw it, read about it, i don't watch in programs but read about it and then saw it was walked back immediately. but that's kind of been the norm. it just sounds like confusion from the white house. >> that is the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee bob corker with his take on president trump balking at implementing new sanctions against russia, sanctions that his ambassador to the united nations nikki haley had announced just the day before. this morning a new development in that morning. welcome to "morning joe," it's wednesday, april 18th i'm willie
geist alongside capitol hill correspondent and host of kc d.c. kasie hunt. joe and mika have the morning off. better late than never. we have associate editor of commentary magazine, the chair the department of african american studies at prince ton university, former chief of staff to george w. bush, and in washington, washington anchor for bbc world news, and in memphis pulitzer prize winning historian. and we'll get to the russia sanction story. we've got full coverage of a remarkable break inside the administration. nikki haley punching back at kudlow after he questioned her clarity to quote the u.n. ambassador, i don't get confused. another big headline cia
director met with kim jong-un over the east-to-west flower weekend. plus defense secretary james mattis pressed the secretary to get the president to sign off before striking the war machine in syria but was overruled. and the very latest in the stormny daniels case. blummenal from the judiciary committee and add dim schiff from house intel will be our guests. and the rising role inside the white house as one advisers tells "the washington post," he basically has a desk in the place. but first we have andy card and john meacham with us. we want to start with the life and legacies of barbara bush. half of the longest women in presidential history died yesterday at the age of 92. new word on funeral plans. the general public will be able to pay respects on friendship as the wife and mother of presidents will lay in repose from noon to midnight at saint martin's church in houston to be
followed by a service for family and friends on saturday morning. john, let me start with you. you wrote a book about george h.w. bush, the american odyssey of the george h.w. bush. obviously the central part of that has been barbara bush who he met as a 16-year-old at a dance and were married for 73 years. i can't help but think about him this morning waking up for the first time in 73 years without his wife at his side. >> it's a poignant image and a day that he never thought would come. and one that for the first time in three-quarters of a century she won't be right there. it's one of the great american marriages, one of the great american stories because it started, as you point the out, not quite three weeks after pearl harbor. and it was a red and green holiday dress that barbara
pierce was wearing, it cot poppy bush's eye. he asked a fellow, a mutual friend from rye to introduce them. the guy was a little slow and he said do you think you want to meet her in the future president said that's the general idea. and they never really looked back. they were married, engaged probably 18 months later, married in january of 1945, moved -- there's some debate, 27, 29 times from new haven to odessa to midland, to california, back to midland, to houston, to washington, to beijing, to washington, to new york and finally to those 12 years at both as reagan's vice president and as president. and she was really the last great figure from that generation to be first lady in the same way president bush was the last president to be the world war ii again rag.
but she just kept moving and never complained. >> you have been associated with the bush family for the last few decades. >> we met in the 1970s. >> in this passing of barbara bush, one can't help feel but a lingering sense that it's accompanied by the passing of did he sensesy. she was a decent person above all else. >> she was the most loving person i met. sometimes she had the krang couo give you tough love when you needed it. sometimes she gave caring love, sometimes tough love, but you always welcomed it. and she was coso inclusive. probably the best speech she gave was her speech at the college in 1990 and she talked about her role as a citizen and what it means to be a wife, a
mother, just part of society. and i would encourage people to look at that speech because it capsu capsulizes her life. it wasn't that she preached about it and talked about it, she lived it. >> do you worry at all about the passing within the republican party of so much of what barbara bush and obviously her husband represented? >> well, barbara bush was a great conscience for president bush, president bush and their whole family and anybody that was in her orbit. she was a wonderful conscience. she could cause you to step back and say, ooh, i better pay attention to peripheral vision rather than just tunnel vision and recognize how this impacts people. and so that conscience will live on. barbara bush is gone in body, she is not gone as a conscience, i guarantee that anyone who had contact with her will never forget the burden that she placed on them to do the right thing.
so, yes, i wish more in the republican party carried that burden today and had her conscience. >> one of the great lines from that 1999 wellsly speech, i'm paraphrasing she was up there and had a roomful of students and said -- >> 1990? >> yeah, she got up and said somewhere out in this crowd sits one of you who may one day grow up to the spouse of an american president. i wish him well. is what she said. we talk about the role of first ladies often, whether it's hillary clinton running healthcare, nancy reagan before barbara bush working on policy. and she wasn't exactly that way. you know better than i. of course deputy chief of staff. what kind of first lady was she? >> she did not put her thumb on the scale of policy. what she did do was raise a conscience. for example, the aids epidemic had people fearful to be around aids. what did she do? she wrent around people with aids. so her actions generated policy
rather than putting her thumb on the scale of policy. she was compassionate. i remember the salvation army with red kettle drums raising money during the holiday season and there were malls in washington, d.c. that banned the salvation army. when she heard that, she went right to a mall, right to a red kettle, put some money in, heard the fellow ringing the bell, encouraged other people to put money in. the red kettle -- the red kettle whatever they were, were not taken away from the malls, they were there. so she was a presence and she acted more than she talked sometimes. and her actions caused other people to change their actions. >> john meacham, andy's talking about sometimes the brutal honesty of barbara bush as i'm thinking back to jeb bush as he prepared to launch a presidential campaign, a campaign a lot of people thought he might be the favorite for in the republican party. she sat down with an interview
for the today show and said we've had enough bushes, there are other families in this country. >> yeah, with mothers like that. but, you know, as henry kissinger said it had the virtue of being true to some extent. she spoke truth and it could be as andy knows far better than i do, it could be wildly uncomfortable. heck, i've got scars from her on a couple of things. but it was -- what, to me, what's remarkable about her, you look at her and i was thinking last night, we're now as far away from the bushes leaving the white house as the bush administration was from the kennedy assassination. so that's -- we should think about that for one second. so there are a bunch of people who will look at pictures of her to be dimly aware of the abigail adams and i analogy and think of her as the seep tpia-toned woma.
she was always worktion aing an leaning in, if you will. the thing about thes wily speech there had been a protest among graduates that she shouldn't honor someone who is only famous because of who her husband was. and she courageously went, took mrs. gorbachev, they were in town for an important summit and confront head on, shed is he there are different paths here. it's not -- you know, sometimes times change quickly, sometimes they change slowly. the thing is focus on your kids, love your friends, reach out, lend a hand and it all may sound somewhat right t somewhat trite, but i think we've learned a new, in the last 18 months or so, that basic truths like that can never be repeated too often. i think barbara bush embodied a kind of decency in public life. she wasn't perfect.
she'd be rolling her eyes right now, she probably is somewhere saying get on with it deary. when you got a deary you were done, that was it. >> that sounds like it. >> that was just like -- the martini pitcher would come at you, it was awful. but she was somebody who believed in public service, and believed in george herbert walker bush. i don't think we should leave this conversation without realizing and noting, i've never met anyone, particularly my wife, who was in love with their spouse as barbara bush was with poppy bush. and -- >> their life was a great love story. >> unto the last moment. it's remarkable and may all of us have some percentage of that in our own lives. >> i should point out in the jeb bush story the moment he decided to run she supported him 100% and got behind his campaign and campaigned for him. >> and she was out on the trail. she is somebody who just seems to me was able to be fierce and
fearless but also incredibly classy and gracious all at the same time. and andy card, it strikes me we don't seem to have role models like this in public life right now. the contrast that i feel, you know, being able to sit here and talk about her life and legacy compared to what we're focussing on every day. >> there was a depth to barbara bush. she was the silver fox. she was defined by her pearls. but there was a depth to her so she did not rush you. she convicted you. and so there was a presence around her. and her aura was one of -- was a conscience that weighed heavily on you as you did your job. don't hurt her husband, don't let him do things he shouldn't do, but don't hurt him. and she was very loyal to her husband, to her family, to her country, but most importantly she was loyal to herself. she lived a good life. >> well, we're going to be talking an awful lot more about the life of barbara bush and we're thinking about president
george h.w. bush who we're told was holding his wife's hand all day yesterday and was with her when she passed away. of course president george w. bush and all the children, our dear friend jenna bush here at nbc, her sister barbara and the extended bush family that goes out as far as the eye can see. we'll talk more about that in just a moment. we'll talk politics now. the internal foulout from the trump administration continue to spill out into public. yesterday we told you about president trump not following through with new sanctions against russia relating to its support of the assad regime when u.n. ambassador nikki haley had announced 24 hours earlier. larry kudlow told reporters yesterday that ambassador haley may have had some momentary confusion and that she, quote, got ahead of the curve. ambassador responded to that saying simply with all due respect, i don't get refused. kudlow reportedly later apologized to haley telling "the new york times" he was, quote,
totally wrong and adding the policy was change and she wasn't told about it so she was in a box. they told the times the white house did not inform the ambassador of the change of plans. it's pretty extraordinary so far. we don't see a lot of cabinet officials and white house officials publicly crossing the president, crossing the white house in the way that nikki haley did but she feels like she was hung out to dry. she was given a message, she wasn't told it was changed. there also appears to be according to a lot of reporting a personal element to this that president trump is starting to get annoyed with the high profile of nikki haley. >> there was a remarkable little graph of "the new york times" story that said republicans close to the white house are beginning to wonder whether or not nikki haley and vice president mike pence might form a 2020 ticket. which i can't think of anything that would frustrate the president more and make him more likely to lash out. nikki haley was put out to dry
here. there were talking points sent to the rnc as well as letter. this decision was made on sunday nightal after she made these statements in public. to blame her from going out in front of a policy that was a policy as far as she knew is remarkably inappropriate and she is right go out and defend her month there. but if that frustrates the president the fact that she was put out to dry in front of this poll scl policy, which was policy and stated policy in this administration. his approach to russia is something we should all be concerned at the fact that everyone is showing they are concerned with it too is good for public discourse. it makes us cown front the reality of this administration and its bizarre relationship with moscow. >> i was on the capitol hill yesterday ant chairman of the foreign relations committee was clearly piqued by this and he called it at the same time said this is just your standard variety confusion. but nikki haley had been one of
the few people that it seemed as though we could trust to know that she had the president's ear, was speaking on behalf of the administration, and wasn't going to be contradicted in public. and it seems like another person off that list. >> yeah, i mean good nor nikki haley. there's wanna element of condensation for the way that larry kudlow was speaking about her saying she might be confused a bit. and she was bold enough to push back and i suspect that he won't use that end couv language about her again, it only takes one time of pushing back and people stop talking but like that. but it does suggest interestingly the second part of what larry kudlow said, she was put in a box or she was in a box, i.e., she was not privy to all of the facts in the white house was kind of a dig suggesting that she's up in new york and she's not in that very, very tight inner circle on these decisions that are being made. but i have some sympathy for that because these decisions are made and then remade and then revisited and policy does change remarkably fast in this white
house. and pronouncements can get made by the president that totally get changed. we've seen that over the question of tpp just over the last three or four days. we were out, then we were in, now it seems we're out again. i can't keep track of the speetd -- speed of policy. so it's not surprising she was out of the loop on the latest russia policy. >> andy, you've been there. could you take a bit about the danger of the lack of communication and lack of discipline that's so evident on a daily basis in this white house? >> probably the greatest responsibility that a chief of staff has is to bring discipline to the whole process. the right hand and the left hand are connect to the same body and they should get their directions from the mind. and, yes, it's a challenge. nikki hailey did not go rogue. she's not -- she doesn't go rogue. she is -- >> that's a great point. >> she's a very steady person and i think that the fact that the white house wasn't communicating with all of the
people about the message was a problem with the white house, it wasn't a problem with nikki haley pirt feel bad for her. almost every president has had to suffer through someone saying something that maybe wasn't the real plan or at the right time. but there's a difference between going rogue and doing it -- making an honest mistake. she didn't even make a mistake. she was being honest. >> and this white house said you can never discount the personal element of all of this. remember how annoyed president trump was when steve bannon was on the cover of time magazine early in the administration. he doesn't like when your profile creeps up on his. >> even if you're in the 24 graph of "the new york times." >> i think he sees that she's been getting positive coverage for the job he's done at the u.n. and perhaps he's knocking her down a peg. >> i mean, what's interesting, andy, you're right, remember if her comments about the sanctions she actually said that steve mnuchin was going to roll out what those sanctions would be on monday or perhaps even earlier,
which suggested that it was accord nated. the interesting question for me is what does she do next? i think her response was actually spot on. and i don't agree with nikki haley at alls a governor or in terms of her position with regards to whatever trump's foreign policy is and how he's representing it to the world. but i'm interested in what she will do now. steve schmidt said last night on twitter that perhaps tp it's time for her to step -- >> over and over again. >> that she has to resign. because i don't know whether or not trump has taken her legs out from under her in relation to the world. how can she represent the president and u.s. foreign policy in the united nations given what trump just did to her. >> any chance she steps aside? >> i hope not. i mean, first of all, the president needs to have strong people around him and maybe he doesn't want strong people, but he needs to have strong people around him. and she is a good role model for the world to see. she's also a great homework
doer. she does her homework. she's not flying by the seat of h her pants or making things up as she goes along. she's very, very disciplined. she was a good governor of south carolina and i was glad to support her. >> i know me too will love, i don't get confused. >> that's right. she clearly was miffed by the perception that she didn't know what she was doing and that she'd gone rogue in some way. >> she's not afraid to speak up. >> right. >> i think the question is going to be what does the president feel. does he actually feel threatened by nikki haley or was he theep see her poke back? >> i think both were true. >> so great to have you especially on this morning. still ahead on "morning joe," president trump sits down with kim jong-un. he won't be the first his administration do so. it turns out cia director mike pompeo spent easter weekend in north korea meeting with the dictator. we'll talk to the reporter who helped break that story next on "morning joe."
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these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. president trump might meet with north korean leader kim jong-un sometime in the coming months. i previewed that possibility while meeting yesterday with japanese prime minister shinzo abe at mar-a-lago. >> we will probably be depending on the various meetings and conversations we'll be having meetings with kim jong-un very soon. it will be -- that will be taking place probably in early june or a little before that. i look forward to meeting with kim jong-un and hopefully that will be a success. and maybe it will be and maybe
it won't be, we don't know. but we'll see what happens. but i can say this, they do respect us. we are respectful of them. we've also started talking to north korea directly. we have had direct talks at very high levels, streamextremely hi levels with north korea. i believe there's a lot of good will. a lot of good things are happening. >> after that statement a lot of people wondered what high level he was talking about the. washington post was first to talk about the high level was outgoing cia director mike pompeo. he traveled to north korea over easter weekend and met with kim jong-un, two people with direct knowledge of the trip told the post. it's reportedly part of the effort to late ground work for the president's potential meeting with kim. let's bring in intelligence and national security reporter for "the washington post" shane harris who shares the by line on
that story if the give us a little background if you can of how this came to be at this cross last night your washington post story stunned a lot of people i think. how did pompeo's trip to meet not just with the north korean official but with the leader of north korea come to pass? >> right. well the cia had already been kind of in the lead, if you will, on u.s. negotiations or communications with north korea through intelligence agency channels, which say bit unusual. usually we think of these kind of back channel negotiations or even through a third party going through the state department. but if you'll remember around this time as the easter weekend s is approaching rex tillerson was heading for the exits and the foreign policy had already been being handled out of the cia. so it's against that backdrop that we understand mike pompeo makes a trip over the east ef weekend end of march, very beginning of april and has this extraordinary face-to-face meeting with kim jong-un becoming the highest level person to interact with senior
government officials that the level in almost 20 years. so it really was a high-stakes kind of gamete. but the point is as we understand it, was to get some assurance from the north koreans about what are they willing to bargain for when they come to the table. and mike pompeo secured some pretty significant assurances of what will be on the table when kim jong-un and president trump eventually meet. >> does that include getting rid of the nuclear program that they're per suing? in exchange for security guarantees? what all is in the deal that's being talked about? >> we know just days after he got back from this trip when was not announce and very close hold within the administration, u.s. officials began confirming that the north koreans had, indeed, given assurances that they were willing to discuss denuclearization, which is a really significant thing to put on the table. and for the president to be willing to meet with kim jong-un, i think it's pretty clear he wanted some real assurance that north korea was serious about this piece of the
negotiation that is paramount for the administration. and it's clear to us at the post when the officials started confirming that they've had some pretty darn high level assurance thats north koreans were serious about them and got them from the north korean leader himself. >> shane, what do we know about the logistics of this meeting and how it was set up? what intelligence agencies were our allies in this? does he fly directly into north korea? does he fly to south korea first? how does he get there and who sets it up, really? >> that's a great question and there's still a lot of that kind of tick tock in the planning that we don't know. it's important to remember that there are ways of getting u.s. officials into north korea, obviously they know we're coming so they know that the plane and they're come okay friend plily s and don't shoot on at it. we know he left from a military base but you'd be surprised to learn that the cia director doesn't announce his schedule
and what plane he flies in on. then in 2014 director of national intelligence jim clap der go to north korea for a meeting to try to get two american captives who were out and he ultimately met with a lower-level intelligence official. and there have been emma satisfactories and enjoys that have gone on before. this was not an easy story for to us hunt down and took some time but it really shows you i think how the cia and mike pompeo himself have been taking the lead on this. when he goes to make this trip is it's very clear that the president wants him to be the next secretary of state. so this is something he'll be carrying over if he's confirmed from langley when he moves over to foggy bottom. >> there are also reports that there are various sites to hold this sum submit with president trump and kim jong-un, including in europe. what's the view from across the atlantic from the american allies about the potential risks involved in these discussions? >> yeah, i think they're the
same as everybody else's. fears about this discussion in the context of what did denuclearization really mean? four times in the last 30 years, three decades, the north koreans have said that they were going to denuclearize, they actually never did and the verification of that process is incredibly indicated. how do you actually get into the country, check the things out that are being done, check that the nuclear program is dismantled on the time frame and on the scale in which it's meant to be done. we know how difficult that's been in iran for example where there has been relatively good access. so if the north koreans now are serious about offering denuclearization, what does that mean? what's the verification process? is it going to lead than anything more than it has done on the four previous occasion when's this possibility has been on the table? the fact this is presidential to presidential level also means where do you go after that if things don't go well you've kind of exhausted the end of your diplomatic rope, there's nowhere
higher to go to. those are the concerns that you hear both from people in national security circles here who know and watch north korea for a long time and amongst europe. it's possible that donald trump has done something through his unconventional means and which is what he said he was always going to do, he's thrown it all up in the air and maybe there's a chance this could work. i think the general consensus is let's go ahead with the meeting and see what that promise actually means in practice. >> meanwhile there's talk of a peace treaty between north korea and south korea when those kuntsd get together later this morn that would replace the arm muss stus that's been in place since 1953. the wash post shane harris, great reporting. thanks very much. >> thanks a lot. there's a twitter fight breaking out right now between president trump and the lawyer for stormy daniels. we'll bring that you next on "morning joe." it took guts to start my business.
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now to a rare response from president trump on the stormy daniels controversy. yesterday daniels and her attorney released this sketch of a man who she claims approached her in a las vegas parking lot in 2011 and threatened her not to say anything about her alleged affair with trump. the president tweeted just
ago in what we believe is the first reference to the stormy daniels scandal on twitter anyway. he wrote this. a sketch years later about a nonexistent man, a fogtal conshop playing the fake news media for cools but they know it and he's retweeting a tweet that suggests the sketch is of stormy daniels's ex-boyfriend. daniels attorney hit back at the president this morning on twitter right writing fbi search warrants uncovering existing documents and showing con job after con job pulled on real people and very real american citizens who didn't know if the welcome to the playing field, #where you been, #boftda, which is what he end every tweet with. i don't have a question but do you have anything to say? >> i mean, i don't think one was -- was the social media department, i don't think dan was saying retweet deplorably scott risch are that will end it. yeah, i don't know what the
thinking is in the white house over this. the president has been pretty cautious on twitter with regards to the stormy daniels controversy, this is decidedly not cautious and now that it's a very serious legal issue relate together seizure of documents from michael cohen's office which is something this white house is very concerned about and they should be. a judge saw that and said this is some serious stuff and we need to investigate this and separate attorney/client privilege from what could be criminal activity. now the president is directly involving himself in it. no lawyer would advise do you this. >> michael after latty has tweeted again fet says there's nothing than having a completely unhinged opponent who is prone to shooting himself in the foot. always leads to big league problems like new claims, i.e., defamation. >> we were talking on the break i think the only reference the president has made to stormy daniels was on air force one when he was asked about michael cohen's $130,000 payment he said i didn't direct it and you'll have to ask michael cohen about
that. tweeting about stormy for the first time. >> whatever you think about her attorney, he has been a beast and he's set every trap that he's set trump's lawyers have stepped into if the but every trap has been designed to get trump to step into it. so the gaggle on air force one and now this tweet. welcome to the playing field, right? where have you been? we think he's been playing, the media trying to be kind of out there. he's been trying to get trump to step out and here he's done it. >> you know, the odd thing, though, is you get the feeling that the back and forth over the tweets and all of the tweets from the president specifically have sort of immunized much of the nation into thinking that, oh, yeah, this is normal. i think that's the danger -- most dangerous aspect of all of this that people think this is normal discourse there are what the president does. >> well now he's entered the stormy daniels fray on twitter. i would like to point out i spared you on this conversation.
although i'm sure there's a. >> historical context, go. >> is there a franklin pierce reference, something could you drop in here? >> i was going to mention that when chester arthur tweeted about the ringling bros. burlesque show, you know, you genuinely can't make it up. and someone used the phrase the thinking in the white house and the way nikki haley said with all due respect, there is none on this. it's not. we have this remarkable cable addict who is tweeting away and i'm sorry to link the two, but here we are in a day where we're thinking about the way george herbert walker bush and barbara bush presided over the country and on that morning the 45th president tweets about this. you know, left anyone miss the point, let's underscore this moment. >> i think barbara bush is
drinking bourbon in heaven right now. coming up next, president trump report lid overruled his defense secretary when it came to the strikes in syria. we'll bring in a member of the foreign senate relations committee next on "morning joe." you ok there, kurt? we're about to move. karate helps... relieve some of the house-buying... stress. at least you don't have to worry about homeowners insurance. call geico. geico... helps with... homeowners insurance?
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defense secretary jamss mattis and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff joseph dunford briefed both the entire house of representatives and senate yesterday regarding the strategy and hair strikes in syria. it comes as military and administration officials tell "new york times" mattis urged trump to get congressional approval before the air strikes saying it's important to get public support for military operations. however, he was overruled by the president who the times reports wanted a, quote, rapid and dramatic response. joining us now from washington, member of the foreign relations committee democratic senator chris murphy of connecticut. senator, good morning it's good to have you with us. you've called the strikes in syria illegal. it apeerss the secretary of
defense agrees in principle with you there should have been consultation with congress before the strike was launched. >> the constitution's pretty clear here, the executive doesn't have the power to declare war or initiate military action without congress in the absence of an attack against the united states or an eminent threat of an attack. i asked director pompeo at the confirmation hearing whether syria attacked us or whether we were at threat of being attacked and he admitted, of course, that neither were true. so the danger here is that there really is no limit to what the president can do if he can get away with these relatively large-scale attacks on syria without congressional authorization. for instance, what would constrain him from launching an even bigger attack on north korea has a preemptive action regarding their nuclear program? none of this happens in a vacuum. he may say it's a targeted surgical strike but in a crowded battle space like syria, it
could prompt a serious counterresponse from the russian, iranians, or the syrians drawing us into a more serious war. and the idea that the match could be lit without any public debate, without any authorization from congress sets, i think, a dangerous precedent. >> this is not a problem exclusive to this president. there have been complaints about president obama, bush before him. if president trump had come before you in the senate and asked for a strike on the syrian, how would you have voted? >> i would have voted against them. i actually had the chance to vote on a strike of this same kind in the obama administration. he actually, as you know, came before congress and asked for authorization. the full senate didn't vote on it but the foreign relations committee did and i was one of the few no votes. i've been consistent in both administrations in my belief that these surgical strikes in the absence of a broader strategy to take out assad simply make the situation worse for the syrian people. what we saw after last year's
strike of about 60 toma hawk missiles is assad quickly escalated the pace on his own people. and there was an escalation inside the country. i know it makes us feel good but it doesn't result in -- >> what would be an appropriate response? i think you agree that you can't stand by and watch chemical weapons launched against civilians. what would have been an appropriate strike? >> well, again, i don't think that ultimately a military strike is the right way to go here. think ultimately you need to have a process by which you hold assad accountable as a worker, you engage in a diplomatic process and you try to get everybody out of syria that wants to get out. what we're doing now is bombing syria in a way that doesn't actually have any long-term consequence for assad while locking people in that country having taken only 11 syrian refugees this year. >> kathy kay here, we're hearing
the same thing that assad is clamping down on civilians after these strikes. they seem to be the ones that are suffering because of america and france and britain launched these strikes. but five days after these strikes does it seem to you that the threat of retaliation either by russia or iran or hezbollah against perhaps u.s. interests in the region, do you think that's gone now? does it look like it this was a hundred-off strike and the military playing field has been leveled and we've moved on or do you think there could still be retaliation? >> i was at the briefing yesterday with general mattis. it doesn't appear that the iranians and russians are preparing any response from these strikes. at the same time, we still do have over 2,000 u.s. soldiers inside syria. they are very close to russian forces and iranian force dollars. we've seen instances in which they have brushed up against each other. i worry that there are still plenty of other instances in the
future where we could have conflict between u.s. forces, iranian and russian forces setting off a broader e gauge meant. so we do have to have a conversation about what they're mission is once the fight against isal has wound down. >> senator murphy, the president just tweeted this morning confirming that his cia drektly and secretary of state nominee mike pompeo met with kim jong-un in preparation for these potential talks between kim jong-un and president trump. what's your view of this meeting? was this a positive step and do you trust that denuclearization is actually on the table? >> well, of course i don't know what the substance of the meetings were, but i'm glad that there's some preparatory work happening for this potential summit between trump and kim jong-un. i'm very worried that this sum submit going to
-- sum submit going to go badly and then surrounded by hawks the president is going to be convinced that diplomacy has failed and the only option left say military action. i think we have to question whether the cia is the appropriate united states and the north koreans that really should be the state department. but, i think we should all admit that it's good, not bad that the trump administration is trying to do some work ahead of this meeting, perhaps setting the stage for success rather than failure. >> senator noah rothman, you said that essentially the american posture towards bashar al assad should be to establish his criminality in some sort of criminal court, that's aspirational and not something we can pursue immediately. you said you are opposed to these strikes perhaps not in principle because you believe american interests are threatened by the use of chemical weapons on the battlefield and both the two chemical attacks on foreign soil
sponsored by states like north korea and russia happening in the last 14 months. are you suggesting that congress has the responsibility to authorize these strikes you would with hold those authorizations even though in principle you agree that american interests are threatened in syria. >> i would with hold that authorization because i don't believe that the strikes have any affect on the battlefield other than to put the syrian people at greater risk. listen, we have to have a conversation about why we hold this special status for chemical weapons which are awful, which do unbelievable and horrific damage to people, but we have let bashar al assad off the hook when he has engaged in other murderous activity against his own people, the systemic rape of civilians, barrel bombs. so, the idea that, you know, we can wash our hands of the atrocities that bashar al assad has committed simply because we launched one day of missile
after a chemical weapons attack misunderstands that hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed inside syria through means other than chemical weapons. my suggestion is to engage in a process that ends this war as quickly as possible. that may end up in the short-term in assad or his allies running the country, but it will result in tens of thousands less syrians being killed. i get it that restraint is unsavory sometimes because it feels better to punch a bully in the mouth, but if the bully just continues to run ravage over the people around him, even after the punch has been landed, then i'm not sure what difference it makes and whether the moral universe has been squared. >> senator chris murphy, democrat of connecticut. thanks so much for your time this morning. we appreciate it. >> thanks. michael cohen is not the only lawyer that connects sean hannity and donald trump. we have more on that playing out in fox news.
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jon meacham, before we let you head on this morning, want to get your final thoughts on barbara bush today the passing at age of 92 yesterday. what sticks with you as you think about her today? >> i think about her resilience. a woman who went on this amazing odyssey with her husband, had six children, lost one to leukemia at an early age. the bushes have never heard the word leukemia until they heard
the diagnosis on their 4-year-old little girl in 1953, and it was barbara bush who was strong through that illness when they lost robin. and then after she was gone, it was george h.w. bush who stepped in and was strong for her. and i think that's one of the reasons this marriage will resonate as long as american history is told is that they were strong for each other and then ultimately both devoted themselves to their country. >> is there more poignant image, john, than thinking yesterday president george h.w. bush holding the hand of his wife and watching her leave this earth. jon meacham, we appreciate it. we'll have much more on barbara bush, biographer susan page joins the conversation. and congressman adam schiff and congressman charlie dent is retiring sooner than expected. "morning joe" is coming right back. do what i did.
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at the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. you will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent. >> and that is that 1990 wellesley college speech that andy carter referenced in our last hour. welcome back to "morning joe" on this wednesday april 18th i'm willie geist alongside kasie hunt. joe and mika have the morning off. still with us, we have msnbc contributor mike barnacle, noah rothman, chair of the department of african-american studies at princeton university eddy glove jr. and joining the conversation, columnist for the "wall street journal," msnbc the great peggy noonan and professor of history at tulane university, walter isaacson and washington bureau chief for usa today susan page, the author of the
forthcoming book, the matriarcm. let me begin with you, susan. we're talking about the life, the legacy of a woman who met her husband at the age of 16 at a school dance. married to him for 73 years. the longest marriage of any president in the history of this country. what are your thoughts? >> i met mrs. bush for the first time in 1980 when i was working covering my first presidential campaign. i interviewed her for the last time in february. she was a totally consistent human being from the first meeting in 1980 to the one in february. she was an incredibly authentic person. she was sharp and funny. she was -- loved her family. she loved her dogs. and she was more influential both with her husband and with her son than i think has been
recognized in the past. >> yeah. and really working behind the scenes from the beginning on politics. didn't perhaps assert herself on policy as much as some other first ladies did, susan, but was there when george h.w. bush first had the idea of running for office. she was collecting names and that famous christmas card list of her's. slefs there at the side of election of her husband. her sons decided to run for office, they sought her advice. when they did, she was behind them all the way. >> she gave them their advice whether they wanted to hear it or not. both her husband and her sons. she was both a public asset and private asset. public asset because she became enormously popular, more popular in public opinion polls than either of the presidents bush. and she was a private asset because, man, she could spot a phony a mile away. she was aware of the motives of people in a way that i think her husband in particular wasn't
always. she was an indispensable partner to him every step of the way during his long career. >> peggy, one of the things that i think strikes a lot of people about barbara bush and the bushes themselves and it certainly has struck me is barbara bush was incredibly decent. there was a level of decency to her that we miss, i think, in public life a lot today. >> yeah. >> but also the fact that she was so grounded, that even though she was a former first lady and while she was first lady, you wouldn't be at all surprised if you bumped into her in aisle 3 of a grocery store. >> yeah. that's completely true. it wasn't just the common touch, as people say. i think she was a person who felt very comfortable on all levels of american life. i think, you know, we just lost her. and so in a way it is a sober day. but in a funny way, not a sad one because what you're looking at with her is a great
triumphant life, one of real effort and real achievement who had considerable happiness and accomplishment not only in her public sphere, which we rightly talk about as a person who helped a political figure be himself without her, there was no him. i think that can be said. but also in her private sphere where a certain bluntness and directness and happiness reigned. so, you know, to do the public and private well in life is a real achievement and deserves a real nod. >> walter isaacson, she championed literacy. she talked about aids before it was necessarily something that was out in the public sphere and not something a public figure would be comfortable talking about. at the core of this story is is a great love story between two
people who met as teenagers. the man who went off to war, came home and married her as quickly as they could and were, in fact, holding hands until her final moments yesterday. >> it's amazing, 73 years. an authentic, very real and one of the things that was important about her, too, was that she was -- the way she left this world, which is to announce publicly that she was going on comfort care and that she wanted to leave on her own terms. i think that's an inspiration for us all. >> all right. we have a lot more to say about barbara bush coming up this morning. for the moment, we'll turn to some politics. president trump has confirmed now yesterday's washington post report that mike pompeo recently traveled to north korea, tweeting just moments ago, mike pompeo met with kim jong-un in north korea last week. meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. details of the summit are being worked out now.
denuclearization will be a great thing for world but also for north korea. peggy, your impressions of this, mike pompeo we learned first "the washington post" yesterday over easter weekend traveling with a direct meeting with the dictator himself kim jong-un, laying the ground work for the president's meeting, laying the ground work for something to happen before then between south korea and north korea. they're talking about things like a peace treaty to replace the armistice. what do you see when you hear about this news? >> i think of what most -- how most people will experience it, which is, okay, he's not shooting off nukes in north korea and they're having a conversation. great. okay. talk. that just sounds good. it does -- there's always a sense with this administration that things are ad hoc and surprising. maybe not fully planned, maybe more planned than we know. but in general, talking is good,
so good. talk. >> that did strike me senator chris murphy earlier saying we do have to acknowledge it is good not bad, noah rothman, we are actually laying ground work for this major summit instead of seemingly walk into it totally blind. >> i'm one of those sticklers for details, though. i like to know what we're talking about. i believe denuclearization is on the table. i believe a peace treaty to which the people's republic of china and united states have to be signatories can't just be south and north korea. those are on the table. are we talking about this country's exporting of narcotics, arms, support for terrorism. there is a lot of problems with north korea that has less to do with its nuclear capability. one of the things these talks could accomplish is that they can dispel the notion inside
north korea's high command that united states is an existential threat. it's very knowledge of itself and its existence in a way that could destabilize the regime. i want to see that projected more by this administration in talking about these talks in a way that this administration has today and yesterday could achieve that. so i'm cautiously optimistic. my objective is more neutralization. >> there is the theory they will be moved about like chess pieces. what is the end game of north korea? the backdrop of the peace talks between north korea and south korea. what is abe's interests. what are abe's interests in japan? what are the interests in beijing? there's all of this stuff happening in the background, which requires more than just simply a conversation. and it certainly requires more than just simply donald trump giving on the highest level meeting that he could possibly desire. so i'm really worried that this
kind of seat of the pants diplomacy will actually have deleterious effects. >> i wonder what it is like to have a conversation with a person who may be a sociopath, do you know what i mean? what exactly is that negotiation? >> we don't know how the north korean president will feel about having that conversation. >> we should remember he did assassinate his own half brother in cold blood. >> right. >> there is the question of trust, right, peggy? you're not suddenly going to sit down across from the man you described as a sociopath, kim jong-un, and trust that what he's saying is exactly what will follow from the meeting. you can't erase 60 years of history with a country in a single meeting. and i think -- but at least as you say, they're taking the steps to wire the meeting with president trump so he's not walking in cold. >> yeah. and mike pompeo, who presumably is having the one-on-one conversations, if indeed they are one on one, is a sophisticated and accomplished
and stable seeming person. i just -- i just wonder what it is like to have a negotiation with someone you actually have reason to believe is a sociopath. how exactly you play that? what is reliable? what's not reliable? what's show business? what's a cork that may be more than a quark? >> walter, off of what peggy is talking about and what peggy is feeling apparently of this soon to occur summit meeting, there is a feeling among some people that one of the dangers of this meeting is that because president trump is fixated at all times on the respect that is shown him or the lack of respect that he perceives that somehow this might come into play negatively on the part of the president, that he might be angered by what he feels is the
lack of respect shown to him and who knows what would happen then. >> yeah. could go the other way, though. i agree with peggy that summits are action-forcing events. this could be a good thing. we rather this happen than the alternative. and you could have parades and everything else for donald trump. it could play right into him. i don't know that you're going to get a very good deal out of this, but at least if you get talking and you put denuclearization on the table, this is a good thing. and i think we ought to just accept this gift horse. >> meanwhile, we told you yesterday about president trump not following through with new sanctions against russia relating to its support of the assad regime. >> yeah. >> which u.n. ambassador nikki haley had announced just 24 hours earlier. trump's new director of national economic council larry kidlow told reporters yesterday ambassador haley may have had, quote, momentary confusion and, quote, got ahead of the curve. ambassador haley responded to
that statement simply with all due respect, i don't get confused. he apologized to haley, adding the policy was changed and she wasn't told about it so she was in a box. several officials also tell the times the white house did not inform the ambassador of the change in plans. susan page, we've been talking a little bit about the policy element of this but also the personal element of this and why donald trump may have looked up seen nikki haley on television previewing or signaling that there was a new sanctions regime coming and been so infuriated by it. what do you think? >> we know that president trump's been pretty reluctant to take action against russia. that's one of the things that james comey is talking about in his book tour. but nikki haley got her training in the south carolina republican party as a woman of color. she is used to dealing with guys who might call her confused like
larry kidlow did and she was -- she responded in a way that was a pretty impressive brush back to him and you saw him back down. i think that just in terms of the politics of this, that she looks pretty formidable. we'll see if that serves her well in terms of her relationship with the president. >> and the idea, noah, that nikki haley would go out freelance on a sunday morning tv show, they prep, get the message and go out and just announce a sanctions regime on her own is pretty preposterous. >> we have information that suggests these talking points were sent out to the rnc, this was policy before it wasn't policy. it's just another indication there is no russian policy out of this administration, at least no grand strategy, right? the president saw we had a very limited set of strikes. he didn't want. he wanted a broader set of strike. limited strikes, reduce these sanctions to induce some sort of reproach mile with russia he's been pursuing sort of on and off and pursuing very harsh policy.
moscow is now responding. moscow according to bloomberg saying this looks like an opening for us. we'll try to exact some concessions from this white house. it's very ambiguous. but that's strategically ambiguous. i don't think moscow can see what's happening with this white house and people think that's good. you want to be unpredictable. not really. you want assurances with your adversary they know what your policy is so they can navigate your policy and navigate the world accordingly. it's dangerous for moscow not to know what the parameters are in which it can act safely. hardly first time president trump undercut his own cabinet members and staff. last week larry kidlow said the president could compartmentalize things following the raid on michael cohen, his lawyer and trump would not change his schedule. hours later trump cancelled his trip to south america. rex tillerson said diplomacy was the way to go with north korea.
trump kwoeded, tillerson is wasting his time. later that day, trump accepted invitation to meet with kim jong-un. last may, vice president mike pence said trump did not fire fbi director james comey over the russia investigation. the next day this happened -- >> when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. >> peggy, it's not an easy thing to be a cabinet official or member of this white house because you think you're doing the right thing. you think you're expressing stated policy. you think you have the backing of the people above you and in a tweet or in a statement the president says just the opposite. >> yeah. so in an insecure world, you cannot as a representative of the white house or the united states feel security that you are actually carrying the policy. i thought one of the things about the nikki haley/larry kidlow thing was why is the
president's national economic guy criticizing america's representative to the united nations and frankly patronizing not only one of the people, nikki haley, who made a good impression on the american public, but one of the few women who has come forward as a member of this administration and made a great impression? so that was just so odd. and added, of course, to the continuing theme of the gang that couldn't shoot straight because there is a president who doesn't make sure they do. that they're locked and loaded and fully armed. >> peggy noonen, i think you and i had the same reaction to that back and forth. >> it was so patronizing. >> susan page, i think you touched on this too when we were first talking about this. i am curious how this president has in some ways shown that he can respect someone who has that kind of a response. even if maybe she was not where he was on policy.
>> well, she has had -- nikki haley had a good relationship with president trump, but she's done that in part by being pretty careful. and we know that she has routinely talked to him personally before she goes out to make statements. and that makes it particularly unlikely that she was confused. it seems to me. and -- but i wonder if the fact that she -- that this has happened and that it spotlights once again the president's reluctance to impose sanctions on russia, whether that is going to be a problem for her in a relationship with president trump and what happens then. >> it seems that kidlow's reaction to nikki haley was a classic example of freudian. what does this confusion signal to our allies? we're talking about what the affect on russia, but what about
what happened to nikki haley, what does it send to britain? what does it send to france, estonia, our allies about the confusion going on in the white house with regards to our position here? >> well, i think it's very bad but it's particularly bad because it shows in not confusion but pretty clearly that president trump for all sorts of reasons we can speculate about continues to kowtow to russia and curry favor with russia and bend over backwards for them when russia has supported these things that happened in syria. the two-hour strike that doesn't cross a russia red line, this notion he gets furious when somebody says we're going to ramp up sanctions. at least nikki haley is coming out of this not looking like the weak kneed people around donald trump. she's coming out like a person of principle because she was on
the right side of policy and we have this weirdness with the president just won't take on russia in the middle of an investigation about his connections there. it's just unseenly and deeply problematic. >> it is worth noting in an administration we've seen such genuflecting people sitting around the table with the president to have the ambassador to the u.n. publicly saying i don't get confused. don't throw me under the bus. that's newsworthy. walter isaacson, susan page, thank you both. good to have you with us this morning. still ahead on "morning joe," three leading voices on capitol hill, democrats richard blumenthal and adam schiff join our conversation. first up, republican charlie dent walking away from congress sooner than expected. why he decided to speed up his departure. that's next on "morning joe."
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pennsylvania, who yesterday announced he's leaving congress within the next few weeks. instead of waiting until the end of the year, end of the term to retire as he previously planned. congressman dent is a member of the house committee and appropriations and former chairman of the house ethics committee. congressman, it's good to see you. why the rush out of town? what changed? >> first, it's been a wonderful opportunity to serve in the united states congress. i served here for nearly 14 years and served on the state legislature also for about 14 years. i've been pursuing various professional opportunities, and for a variety of personal reasons i decided it would be better to leave now. nothing is final, by the way. i'll have more to say about that probably in the coming weeks, but i have some things i want to accomplish here now. but i'm pursuing opportunities and when things are final i'll let everybody know. >> i think some people said now we have to force a special election. this has some implications of you not serving out the term. did that weigh on your decision at all? >> yeah. the primary in pennsylvania will be on may the 15th. so the nominees for the two
parties will be established. the governor of the pennsylvania has the authority to call special election. i suspect i won't tell the governor what to do. he might just let this special election coincide with the general election in november. he really couldn't call a special election much before august. >> congressman, kasie hunt, nice to see you. paul ryan stepping down, not running for re-election to his seat, you have been a very outspoken critic of this president. are you at all disappointed that republican leaders have not been more vocal in standing up to him? >> candidly yes. i believe that we have an obligation as republicans to stand up for what i think we stood for for a long time. we're supposed to be a party about principles and ideals, and i think what's happened is that the -- prior to donald trump, i've always said that this party used to have litmus test issues and had the purity police who
would judge us and determine whether or not we were doctrine enough. i never liked that because i'm more pragmatic. since donald trump stepped up, the litmus test is loyalty to the man. we all know donald trump is not doctrine or ideological and that's where we are right now. i think it's incumbent on us to stand up for things of the republican party. when the president goes off the rail on trade, we should call him out or if he makes some absurd statements, whether charlottesville or muslims or you go down the whole list of things he said over the time he's been a candidate or president that we had to reign him in. i think we need to do that more forcefully from time to time. i'm saddened by that. >> would you go so far as to say that paul ryan was cowardly in his approach to the president? >> i owe a lot of respect for the speaker. he's in a really tough spot. you know, i was on the phone call -- you remember after the "access hollywood" tape and we had a conference call. ten of us spoke on that call. i was one of them.
and the speaker, you know, got some pushback from some of the members on that call for basically being critical of the president, putting some distance between himself and candidate trump at the time. i basically spoke up and supported him. i think i was the only one on the call to do that. the speaker has always been in this tough spot. he wants to advance an agenda. someone said, oh, have he and others engaged in a fallacy bargain, a devil's bargain, if you will. i guess history will judge that. look, he wants to get some things done. he's on his way out. but you can read between the lines. you can see this has been very difficult on paul ryan. >> congressman, noah rothman with commentary magazine, it seems we have a situation that the founders would find bizarre. article 1 of the constitution doesn't seem to jealousy guard its power anymore. the budgetary process is broken. no one seems wants to war making powers. the president just went ahead and banned bump stocks lacking
the statutory authority to do that. doesn't seem congress is interested in it, in fact, it strikes me and i'm not sure if you agree that members seem to derive their power more from punditry and appearing on camera and pursuing a career after their office in entertainment. is that a condition that you find disturbing, alarming or do you think i'm overblowing it? >> no. i think you're making a fair point. i would say to you, too, barack obama was president, we republicans stood up and we waived the constitution and talked about article 1 quite a bit. and i think we need to do the same thing now. i mean, hypocrisy is quite evident to many people. we have a system of separation of powers. sometimes i feel around this capital on both sides of the aisle it's more separation of parties. when there's a democrat president, the democrats are less likely to engage in serious oversight or republicans are in power in the white house, we're less likely to engage in serious oversight. i think that's an issue. we have to be much more vigilant
and strong in our oversight when there's a president of our own party. >> congressman, before i let you go the president of the united states is tweeting this morning about a sketch of someone stormy daniels alleges approached her and threatened her on behalf of the president several years ago. is it tweets like that statements like this from the president that's partially exhausted you in some of your colleagues having to answer to them on capitol hill? >> yes. to be candid. look, i'm leaving -- i'm leaving for a variety of reasons. you know, personal, professional, i have run for office 13 trials. i'm not spoiling a perfect record, undefeated, unindicted, i want to keep it that way. butly tell you, that was a factor. it is exhausting. and i really don't like to have to spend my time talking about the tweet of the moment or some absurd statement. i like to focus on public policy. i actually enjoy it. i'm on the appropriations
committee. i deal with all sorts of great issues. and it's really not -- i rather not be talking about all these problems that the president has or creates. so, but hey, i just want to say one thing, it's been a wonderful experience. i started my career. i want to say something for barbara bush, her husband and john himes helped me when i first ran for the state house in is the 1990. my favorite first lady. in many ways like a national grandmother. just such a graceful, dignified woman. we're really going to miss her. >> amen to that. congressman charlie dent, we enjoyed talking with you. hopefully you'll be back before you leave town. thanks so much. >> thank you, willie. still ahead, mitch mcconnell pumps the brakes on legislation to protect special counsel bob mueller. senator richard blumenthal one of the lawmakers behind the bipartisan push is standing by with his reaction and more. tomorrow, elizabeth warren and elijah cummings join us
tomorrow for an exclusive joint interview. "morning joe" is coming right back. hey! we didn't have a homeowners claim last year so allstate is giving us money back on our bill. well, that seems fair. we didn't use it. wish we got money back on gym memberships. get money back hilarious. with claim-free rewards. switching to allstate is worth it.
and just as a practical matter, even if we passed it, why would he sign it? >> so, you don't think it's a good idea and you don't think it's something the president would entertain or should entertain? >> well, i don't think he should fire mueller and i don't think he's going to. so this is a piece of legislation that's not necessary in my judgment. >> obviously none of your colleagues fear it enough to say it should be in there as an insurance policy. >> i'm the one who decides what we take to the floor. that's my responsibility as the majority leader and will not sb having this on the floor of the senate. >> that's mitch mcconnell yesterday saying legislation to protect special counsel robert muler is not necessary. joining us now, veterans affair committee, democratic senator richard blumenthal of connecticut. it's good to see you this morning, senator. where does the confidence from mitch mcconnell and others come that the president of the united states won't take steps to have bob mueller fired given the news reports we had two of them at least that suggest he's wanted to do exactly that? >> i think that's really the
question of the moment, history is watching. there is no reason for confidence that the president is going to avoid firing either robert mueller or rod rosenstein. that's why we simply cannot afford to roll the dice and go over the cliff if that's where donald trump takes us. democracy is not shatter proof. the norms of history apparently matter little to donald trump nor does the rule of law. and that's why i think this legislation is gaining traction. the latest draft will probably be voted within the next ten days by the judiciary committee. we are working hard to resolve all of the issues with the chairman, senator grassley, as well as others. so i think there's a bipartisan consensus building. >> does it matter, though, senator, if mcconnell won't even bring that to the floor? you have tom till es, for example, came out strongly
supporting your legislation, something he believed has been necessary for a long time. there are republicans on board, as you say. but if mitch mcconnell, who said again and again, this legislation isn't necessary, i won't put it on the floor is saying forget it, does your bipartisan work even matter at this point? >> i think there's a growing ground swell within his own caucus, as there is among the american people that will carry the day and persuade him that there's a historic obligation here to show the president that there will be no tolerance for his firing the special counsel. i agree with mitch mcconnell, of course, that the special counsel should be permitted to finish the investigation, reach a full, fair conclusion. but he has tried twice to fire the special counsel. there's no reason for confidence. and the argument against it, the principle argument, is a constitutional red herring that we largely addressed in redrafting this bill.
now the president's order, if he fires robert mueller, is addressed by the courts after it happens, within an expedited ten-day period. so there's really no constitutional question here. >> senator blumenthal, good morning. question on another issue facing the senate. mike pompeo's nomination for secretary of state. do you plan to support that nomination? >> i will oppose that nomination. i believe that director pompeo has shown a disdain for diplomacy, putting military action at a higher priority. he has devalued religious tolerance and women's reproductive rights and health care, not only in this country but around the world. i think he sets a poor example in terms of american value. so i will strongly oppose his nomination and i think it will go to the floor. if it does with an unfavorable vote from the committee on foreign relations. >> senator, chris murphy said earlier this morning that he
thinks pompeo's trip to north korea to lay some ground work for potential summit with kim jong-un and president trump was good not bad, simply because it shows there's some leg work going into this. do you agree with that assessment? >> the preparation certainly is welcome. there's no way that donald trump should go into that meeting without a lot of ground work being laid. in fact, some of the agreements perhaps already reached. but, director pompeo is the wrong person to be engaging in diplomacy. we need a secretary of state. and not a cia director doing that work. obviously the cia director and their equivalent, director of intelligence have been the ones interfacing up to now. but really the diplomats need to take over and lay the diplomatic ground work not only with the north koreans but also our allies and partners in the region and around the world. >> senator, what do you think
will happen in the pompeo confirmation vote? do you think your democratic colleagues will vote as you will against his confirmation? do you expect to pick up any republicans? what will happen? >> there certainly will be at least one republican and likely more to vote against his nomination. predicting it right now is pretty hazard douse because a number of my democratic colleagues so far haven't made up their minds. but i think there's a growing sense that a man who has disapproved of women's reproductive rights not only here but in programs that reach around the world, someone who has shown a disdain for religious tolerance in his past statements about muslims as well as put a priority on military action first, almost as a first resort not a last, and that is really contrary to the approach
that even defense secretary mattis has urged in the middle east where he said diplomacy is necessary. i think that kind of person is unqualified for the job. >> senator richard blumenthal, democrat of connecticut. we appreciate your time this morning. thanks senator. thank you. coming up next, the ranking member of the house intelligence committee congressman adam schiff. we're back in a moment. when trying to save for the big things in life, we tend to start small.
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♪ bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens ♪ ♪ brown paper packages tied up with strings ♪ ♪ these are a few of my favorite things ♪ ♪ ♪ joining us now congressman adam schiff of california. congressman, good to see you this morning. >> thanks, willie. >> i want to hear your public comment if there's been one about mike pompeo's trip confirmed by the president of the united states, to north korea over easter weekend to meet with the dictator there, kim jong-un. good news for diplomacy? >> i think it is good news for diplomacy and i'm glad that the meeting took place. look, it's much better than the footing we were on before where
we had the president of the united states and the supreme leader comparing the size of our nuclear buttons. so this looks like preparations into a real talk between our president and the leader of north korea. up until this point, i think we were wondering is this really going to happen? did the south koreans relay an accurate message? but it looks like it's going to take place. the challenge is this is a very high stakes endeavor when you start out with a summit of the top leadership if the president finds that his winning personality doesn't cause north korea to denuclearize overnight, does that mean the president is going to conclude, okay, this was a waste of time. it's time to use the military option. i hope our administration understands this is a long-term difficult endeavor negotiate gting with the north koreans. if it was easy, it would have been done successfully before and it hasn't. >> does president trump deserve credit for how he handled the
situation up to this point? he had a lot of help brokering these conversations with north korea from the south koreans and south korea opening its doors the way it hasn't for a couple generations, but should the president get some credit up to this point? >> we have to see whether this bears fruit before we can give credit. >> so far, how is he doing with it? >> it's a mixed record. he has been all over the map as you indicated earlier. at times he said rex tillerson was wasting his time seeking a diplomatic option. he was saying we should go to the military option. and now he's on a different track. he may be once again on his war footing a week from now. so i'm going to reserve judgment. frankly i got out too early praising the president earlier in the week for the announcement that we were going to pose sanctions on russia over their support for bashar al assad and gassing his own people and that praise turned out to be far too premature. >> congressman schiff, this is
eddy glove. what are your thoughts about the trump administration's walk back with the russia sanctions and pair it with james comey and his book tour and how he's trying to become the face of resistance. talk more about what you think of trump's walk back of the russian sanctions and what comey is talking about these days. >> you know, it's very hard to make out what just happened here in terms of the russia sanctions. i thought it was a very smart approach. i said so that we would target facilities that were not likely to kill russians, that wouldn't escalate the conflict further, that would send a message to bashar al assad and combine it with sanctions that was a good way to hit russia but a safe way to hit russia. i have to think that nikki haley was not out there announcing sanctions that were going to be imposed on monday with that kind of specificity without broad agreement, without getting a green light. so whether the president got cold feet or whether the
president simply changed his mind, i don't know. but i certainly would not place responsibility on nikki haley. i think she's too competent to have massively messed up by announcing something that had not been agreed to. in terms of james comey, look, i've always found him to be honest and a straight shooter. i don't think he's saying anything that he doesn't believe to be the case. but he made very serious errors of judgment in violating the department policy, particularly around the time of the election. it was highly consequential. and there's no mistaking that. and i also think there was a double standard in how the clinton investigation was treated and how the trump investigation was treated. so, i don't begrudge him the opportunity to tell his story when he's constantly under attack by the president. and i -- his accounts are consistent with his senate testimony. they're consistent with the memos that he wrote. they're consistent with what other witnesses have said about
his interactions with the president, so i fully credit him as opposed to what the president is saying, but nonetheless, he is going to have to explain to history why he made the judgments that he did. >> congressman, peggy noonan here. sometimes i'm thinking as you speak, do members of your caucus, of the democratic caucus, ever get together these days and say to each other, in the age of trump, what do we in the democratic believe in? what do we stand for? what are the hills we would die on? and do you ever hear of your republican colleagues having such conversations, not about tactics and strategy, but the meaning of things? >> we certainly do within our caucus. you know, we have a lot of kind of soul-searching, as well as strategy sessions within our caucus, how do we approach this issue, what's the right thing to do, what's best agreement we can
reach, what's the right thing for the country. so we do wrestle with this, as you would hope that we would. as for my gop colleagues, i have to think that they do that as well. i'm always struck, frankly, when i walk down the hallway and i'll have one of my gop colleagues sometimes very senior members of the gop conference say to me in a hush tone, "keep doing what you're doing." that of course is a heresy for anyone in the gop to say something like that. but i think they recognize the challenges facing the country. they need people to be speaking out even if they feel at the moment they're not able to do it. i wish more of them would, frankly. and i think mcconnell's announcement that he won't take up this bill just reinforces the idea that when this dark chapter of history is written about the trump presidency, some of the harshest criticism will be reserved for the gop leadership and its unwillingness to stand up for the rule of law and our institutions when the country really needed it. >> we just had your republican
house colleague, charlie dent, on the show a few minutes ago who acknowledged part of the reason he is leaving early is because he is exhausted by president trump. congressman adam schiff of california, thanks so much. . coming up, new reporting on the depth of the president's relationship with fox news host sean hannity, including the other trump-connected attorneys to whom he reportedly has been tied. "morning joe" is coming right back. so, i needed legal advice, and i heard that my cousin's wife's sister's husband was a lawyer, so i called him. but he never called me back! if your cousin's wife's sister's husband isn't a lawyer,
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michael bechloss in the role barbara bush has played in propresidencies. this morning, the president -- and mike pompeo's visit to north korea. and a woman is dead after being partially sucked out of a southwest airlines plane window when an engine exploded. investigators trying to figure out what exactly caused that blast. we've got a packed 8:00 a.m. hour still ahead on "morning joe." back in three minutes. n i trave. for leisure. so i go national, where i can choose any available upgrade in the aisle - without starting any conversations- -or paying any upcharges. what can i say? control suits me.
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what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. that's it? everybody two seconds! "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. what do you make of the sanctions walk-back? >> confusions. read about it, i guess. i don't watch many programs, but read about it and saw it fought back immediately. but that's kind of been the norm. >> that's the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, bob corker, with his take on president trump balking
at implementing new sanctions against russia, sanctions that his ambassador to the united nations, nikki haley, had announced just the day before. this morning a new development in that story. good morning, wednesday to "morning joe." it's wednesday, april 18th. i'm willie geist along with host of kasie d.c., kasie hunt. joe and mika have the morning off. with us around the table, msnbc contributor mike barnicle, associate editor of commentary magazine, noah rothman. eddie glaude jr. and former chief of staff to george w. bush, andy card. and from washington, washington anchor for "bbc world news america," kathy kay and pulitzer prize winning historian, jon meacham. we've got full coverage of a remarkable break inside the administration.
nikki haley punching back at larry kudlow after he questioned her clarity. to quote the u.n. ambassador, "i don't get confused." another big headline, cia director mike pompeo, secretly met with north korean leader king jong unover the weekend. plus, defense secretary james mattis pressed the president to get congress to sign off before striking assad's war machine in syria but was overruled. and the very latest in michael cohen's legal battle and the stormy daniels legal saga. and sean hannity's rising role inside the white house. one washington insider tells "the washington post," quote, he basically has a desk in the place. but first we want to start with the life and legacy of barbara bush, half of the longest marriage in presidential history died yesterday at the age of 92. the general public will be able to pay respects friday as the wife and mother of presidents
will lay in repose from noon until midnight at st. martin's church in houston, followed by a church for family and friends saturday morning and burial at the bush library in college station. jon meacham, you wrote a book about president george h. w679 bu w. bush, "destiny in power." the central part in that odyssey has been barbara bush whom he met as a 16-year-old at a dance and now were married for 73 years. i can't help but think about him this morning waking up for the first time in 73 years without his wife at his side. >> it's a poin yegnant image an day that he never thought would come. and one that for the first time in three-quarters of a century she won't be right there. it's one of the great american marriages, one of the great american stories because it started, as you pointed out, not quite three weeks after pearl
harbor. it was a red and green holiday dress that barbara pierce was wearing. it caught poppy push's eye. he asked a fella, mutual friend, to introduce them. the guy was a little slow. he said you mean you want to meet her? the future president said that's the general idea. and they never really looked back. they were married, engaged probably 18 months later, married in january of 1945. moved -- there is some debate -- 27, 29 times from new haven to odessa, to midland, to california, back to midland, to houston, to washington, to beijing, to washington, to new york, and finally 12 years both as reagan's vice president and as president. she was really the last great figure from that generation to be first lady in the same way president bush was the last
president of the world war ii generation. but always looked forward. she was the great embodiment i think of the creed. never complained. never explain. just keep moving. >> andy, you have been associated with the bush family literally for decades. >> we met in the 1970s. >> and this passing of barbara bush, one can't help feel but a lingering sense that it's accompanied by the decency. she was a decent person above all else. >> she was the most loving person i met. and sometimes she had the courage to give you tough love when you needed it. so she gave caring love. sometimes tough love. but you always welcomed it and she was so inclusive. probably the best speech that she gave that should be an inspiration to everyone was her speech at wellesley college, june 1st, 1990, when she had reza gorbachev with her.
and she talked with her role as a citizen and what it means to be a wife, a mother, just part of society. and i would encourage people to look at that speech because it really capsulizes her life. and she lived that life. it wasn't just that she preached about it or talked about it. she lived it. >> do you worry at all about the passing within the republican party of so much of what barbara bush and obviously her husband represented? >> well, burr bra bush was a great conscience for president bush, president bush, and the whole family. and anybody that was in her orbit. she was a wonderful conscience. she could cause you to step back and say, ooh, i better pay attention to peripheral vision rather than just tunnel vision and recognize how this impacts people. and so that conscience will live on. barbara bush is gone in body. she is not gone as a conscience. i guarantee you that anyone who
had contact with her will never forget the burden that she placed on them to do the right thing. so, yes, i wish more in the republican party carried that burden today and had her conscience. >> one of the great lines from that wellesley speech, i'm paraphrasing with be she got up in front of all those people and said somewhere out in this crowd sits one of you who may one day grow up to be the spouse of an american president. i wish him well is what she said. we talk about the role of first ladies often, whether it's hillary clinton running health care or nancy reagan before barbara bush working on policy. >> she did not put her thumb on the scale of policy. what she did do was raise the conscience. for example, the aids epidemic had people fearful to be around people with aids. what did barbara bush do? she went around people with aids. so her actions generated changes in policy rather than putting
her thumb on scale of policy. she was compassionate. i remember the salvation army with red kettle drums raising money during the holiday season. there were malls in washington, d.c. that banned the salvation army. when she heard that, she went right to a mall, right to a red kettle, put some money in, heard the fellow ringing the bell, encouraged other people to put money in. the red kettle s were not taken away from the malls. they were there. so she was a presence and she acted more than she talked sometimes and her actions caused other people to change their actions. >> jon meacham, andy's talking about sometimes the brutal honesty of barbara bush. i am thinking back to jeb bush as he prepared to launch a presidential campaign, a campaign a lot of people thought he might be the favorite for in the republican party. she sat down for an interview
with the "today" show, she said we've had enough bushes. there are enough families in this country. >> yeah. with mothers like that. but as henry kissinger used to say, it had the virtue of being true, to some extent. she really spoke truth and it could be, as andy knows far better than i do, it could be wildly uncomfortable. heck, i've got scars from her on a couple of things. but it was -- to me what was so remarkable about her, if you look at her -- i was thinking last night, we're now as far away from the bushes leaving the white house as the bush administration was from the kennedy assassination. so that's -- we should think about that for one second. so there are a bunch of people who will look at pictures of her and be dimly aware of the abigail adams analogy and thing of her as this sepiatone woman. my god. she was always working. she was always leaning in, if
you will. the thing about the wellesley speech that andy mentioned is there had been a protest among undergraduates that they shouldn't honor someone who was only famous because of who her husband was. and she courageously went, took mrs. gorbachev. the gorbachevs were in washington for a very important summit. and really confronted head-on and said -- she said, there are different paths here. sometimes times change quickly. sometimes they change slowly. the thing is focus on your kids, love your friends, reach out, lend a hand. and it all may sound somewhat trite, but i think we've learned anew, haven't we, in the life of the nation in the past 18 months or so that basic truths like that can never be repeated too often. and i think barbara bush embodied a kind of decency in public life. she wasn't perfect. she'd be rolling her eyes right
now. she probably is somewhere saying get on with it, dearie. when you got a "dearie," you were done. that was it. the mar tike martini pitcher wo at you. it was awful. but she was somebody who believed in public service and believed in george herbert walker bush. i don't think we should leave this conversation without realizing and noting, i've never met anyone -- particularly my wife -- who was as in love with their spouse as barbara bush was with poppy bush. >> their life was a great love story. >> unto the last moment. yes. and it is remarkable and may all of us have some percentage of that in our own lives. >> i should point out on the jeb bush story, the moment she decided to run she supported him 100% and got behind his campaign and campaigned for him. >> and she was out on the trail. she is somebody who just seems to me was able to be fierce and
fearless, but also incredibly classy and gracious all at the same time. andy card, it strikes me, we don't seem to have role models like this in public life right now. the contrast that i feel being able to sit here and talk about her life and legacy compared to what we are focusing on every day. >> there was a depth to barbara bush. she was the silver fox. she was defined by her pearls. but there was a depth to her so she did not rush you. she convicted you. and so there was a presence around her and her aura was one -- was a conscience that weighed heavily on you as you did your job. don't hurt her husband. don't let him do things he shouldn't do, but don't hurt him. and she was very loyal to her husband, to her family, to her country. but most importantly, she was loyal to herself. she lived a good life. >> andy card, so great to have you, especially on this morning. still ahead on "morning joe," nikki haley does not mince words, whether about russian aggression or attempts by her
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now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. we'll turn to some politics now. the internal fallout from the mixed messages out of the trump administration continued to spill out into public. yesterday we told you about president trump not following but with new sanctions against russia relating to its support of the assad regime which u.n. ambassador nikki haley had announced just 24 hours earlier. trump's new director of the national economic council, larry kudlow, toll reporters yesterday that ambassador haley may have had, quote, some momentary confusion and that she, quote, got ahead of the simply, with a due respect, i don't get confused. kudlow later apologized to haley telling "the new york times" he was totally wrong adding the policy was changed and she wasn't told about it so she was in a box. several officials also told the
"times" the white house did not form the ambassador of the change of plans. this is pretty extraordinary so far. we don't see a lot of cabinet officials, white house officials publicly crossing the president, crossing the white house in the way that nikki haley did but she feels like she was hung out to dry. she was given a message. she wasn't told that it was changed. there also appears to be, according to a lot of the reporting, a personnelment to this that president trump is beginning to get annoyed with the high profile of nikki haley. >> there was a remarkable little graph -- i think it was the 24th draft of a "new york times" story said republicans close to the white house are beginning to wonder whether nikki haley and vice president mike pence might form a 2020 ticket in the event donald trump isn't a viable option at that point which i can't think of in ig that would frustrate the president more and make him more likely to lash out. nikki haley was put out to dry here. there were talking points that were sent to the rnc as well as her. according to reporting this decision was made on sunday night, well after she had made these statements in public, in
good faith, to blame her for going out in front of a policy that was a policy as far as she knew it is remarkably inappropriate and she's absolutely right to go out and defend her honor there. but if that frustrates the president, the fact that she was put out to dry in front of this policy -- which was policy, and is stated policy of this administration. i mean the president's mercurial nature and his ka proescapricio approach to relations with russia is something everyone should be concerned with. i think it's good for public discourse, it makes us confront the reality of this administration and its bizarre relationship with moscow. >> katty kay, i was on capitol hill yesterday and the chairman of the foreign relations committee was clearly piqued by this and said this is just your standard variety confusion. but nikki haley had been one of the few people that it seemed we could trust to know she had the president's ear, was speaking on
behalf of the administration and wasn't going to be contradicted in public. it seems like another person off that list. >> yeah. i mean good for nikki haley, right? there was condescension the way larry kudlow was speaking to her, she might get confused a little bit. she was bold enough to push back and i suspect he won't use that type of language about her again. it only takes one time to push back and people stop talking about you like that. the second part of larry kudlow said, she was put in a box, or she was in a books, ie, she was not privy to all of the facts of what was happening in the white house was kind of a dig, suggesting that she's up in new york and she's not in that very, very tight inner circle on these decisions that are being made. but i have some sympathy for that because these decisions are made, then remade, then revisited and policy does change remarkably fast in this white house and pronouncements can get made by the president that then totally get changed. we've seen that over the
question of tpp just over the course of the last three or four days. we were out, then we were in, now it seems we're out again. i can't even keep track of the policy. it is dizzying, so it is not surprised perhaps she was out of the loop on the latest nuance on russia policy. >> andy, you've been there, you've been chief of staff in the white house. could you talk a bit about the danger of the lack of communication, the lack of discipline that is so everybody depth on a daily basis in this white house? >> probably the greatest responsibility that a chief of staff has is to bring discipline to the whole process. the right hand and the left hand are connected to the same body and they should get their directions from the mind. and yes, it is a challenge. nikki haley did not go rogue. she's not -- she doesn't go rogue. >> great point. >> she's a very steady person and i think that the fact that the white house wasn't communicating with all of the people about the message was a problem with the white house. it wasn't a problem with nikki haley. coming up on "morning joe,"
mike pompeo has not been confirmed as secretary of state but he sure seems to be playing the part. new details on his secret meeting with north korea's dictator. . plus, his twitter feed is always a great resource but particularly during moments like these. presidential historian michael beschloss joins us with his reflections on barbara bush. "morning joe's" coming right back.
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the president has turned his twitter attention back to james comey this morning amid the former fbi director's media blitz for his new book. a short time ago the president wrote, slippery james comey was not fired because of the phony russia investigation where by the way there was no collusion except by the dems. you recall that trump told nbc news' lester holt that the russia probe did play a role in his decision to fire comey. >> he's a showboat, he's a grand didn't stander. regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it. and in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. >> there it is in black and
white. it's hard to know what else to say about it. he says today it wasn't because of the russia investigation he fired james comey. he says on may 11th, 2017 in a nationally televised interview with lester holt that it was because of the russia investigation. >> all the reporting we have suggests that the president is aware of his firing of comey and how he talked and responded to it really set the ball in motion for the special counsel, the appointment of the special counsel, which has put a box around this president. i think he's stung from that experience. i don't think he intends to repeat it. yet i see tweets like this and i'm not sure if the lesson has been fully internalized. >> i think it is fair to say that. it really, eddie, is the president can't help himself. james comey is all over tv, getting a lot of air time, taking up a lot of oxygen on tv and other places. he's reminded, the president is, of what james comey he believes did to him, although you could make a pretty convincing case that james comey had an awful
lot to do with getting president trump elected. >> all the efforts by the white house staff to distract him with business of state, leading with prime minister abe, apparently it didn't work. over and over again, we need to just simply -- we see and we need to simply conclude that whatever donald trump speaks, the default judgment should be that he's lying. he's just not telling the truth. and part of our challenge is that we're constantly attributing truthfulness to what he says when in fact we should begin with the opposite position, that he's not telling the truth until he actually -- >> in this case he makes it pretty easy because there is a tweet that says one thing and a tape that says the other. >> the problem is which instance do you believe? did he tell the truth to lester holt or is he telling the truth now? my -- it seems to me he was more likely telling the truth in the lester holt interview. but on the other hand, how is it that we're having this conversation about a president of the united states?
>> one of the larger problems for this country, for the political process in this country and for the world at large is that donald trump is uniquely a man of the moment. his own moment. and he is liable to go anywhere at any time on any given issue in a moment's notice. with no warning. no communication. >> and the bigger problem here is that people believe him, whatever he says. people are willing to say -- and i think that, more than anything, is what we can take from this, is that he has now decided that this is what he wants his followers and the people that his true believers to say about what he did here. >> every time i see one of his tweets in this area i think to myself, i hope some day we are told and come to understand what the russia story is. the president has consistently been preoccupied with it, with the russia story, obsessed with it sometimes, defensive about it most of the time.
what is the russia story? i just always hope, will mueller get to the bottom of this? will we some day know what we're talking about when we say those words, the russia story. >> from washington, author and nbc news presidential historian michael beschloss. and in houston, nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. andrea, we'll get to the passing of barbara bush in just a moment. but given your expertise, i want to get your take on this meeting between mike pompeo, the cia director, nominee to be secretary of state, inside north korea with north korean dictator kim jong-un. the president of the united states confirming that that meeting took place this morning on twitter. what's the significance here? >> oh, it's enormous. this is the highest level meeting since madelyn albright in october of 2000 went to pyongyang. i was on that trip. that was the meeting with kim jong-un's father, kim jong-il. and they were actually moving towards normalization. not ending the armistice and
ending the korean war but they were going to talk about establishing diplomatic relations. but time ran out because then you of course had the election, you had bush v. gore. and with the decision in favor of george w. bush, they could not follow the clinton-gore initiative which was to normalize relations with north korea. as it turns out, they did not know that there was a secret nuclear program so they were about to do a deal with north korea not even knowing that there was a hidden parallel nuclear program beyond the one that they had identified and that was about to be destroyed. so these are very difficult negotiations. it is significant, i think, willie and kasie, that it is the cia director, he is the nominee for secretary of state but right now he is the cia director as he was of course during that meeting in north korea. and the intelligence is really going to drive this. this is reassuring to some in that it is not as off hand as
the president saying when the south koreans came before they could even brief him, oh, yeah, let's have the summit. that made people very, very nervous. this would be a much better prepared meeting with pompeo in charge and at least the intelligence officials are in the middle of it. i think that is terribly important. two indicate that the meeting between the leaders might just be glad handing him for show but there is real hard work being done. >> one of the conditions you might expect the united states to ask for in any kind of deal would be the denuclearization of north korea as you referenced. is it reasonable? is it naive to expect that kim jong-un would give up the one thing that he is holding on to that gives him some say in the world, that gives him some power, that makes him feel relevant where otherwise he does not? >> it's hard to believe that he would give up his nuclear power. he's now a nuclear state. he has the weapons.
he has not perfected the warheads and delivery system but he's gone a lot farther than we even had suspected. they have surprised our estimates repeatedly. so the fact is, it would be very difficult for him to give that up. he wants economic benefits. he wants normalization. he wants the end of the war, as does president moon. he now has a partner in the shout who was ele south who was elected on this premise and it is not what the president of japan wants. he came to mar-a-lago and was completely blind sided by the president's agreement to go to this summit. as was china but beijing as already had their meeting with kim jong-un. abe is the odd man out and not very comfortable about what is going on between south and north korea. as we now know, they are also talking about ending the war, which has been an armistice. but they are still in a state of war between north and south
involving the u.s. and also the united nations. so there's a lot in play here. this could, if it works, willie and kasie, this could be the biggest thing any american president has done since the end of the cold war, since in fact george herbert walker bush. >> a lot of work to get there first but it is certainly possible. let's talk about why you are in houston, texas, andrea. that's for the passing of barbara bush who died yesterday at the age of 92. we are told president bush was holding his wife's hand as he passed away as he was for the entirety of the day. married for 73 years. the wife of a president. the mother of a president. what are your thoughts this morning about a woman you covered for many, many years? >> well, she was the conscience of the family, the leader of the family, the heart and soul of the family, of three generations of political figures if you count george p. bush, and we do now in his own electoral career in texas. the fact is she was indomitable.
she was smart. nicolle wallace who knows her far better than i, what she was like in prebriefs to go out on the campaign trail, was even often campaigning for jeb in new hampshire in 2016 on top of every last detail. our friend, jon meacham, has said that if there had not been barbara bush, there would never have been a president bush. she was the debutante from ryan, new york, who fell in love at first sight basically at a dance in greenwich, connecticut with this young man. it was before pearl harbor. then he becomes the youngest naval aviator. they get married when he's home on leave. then from 1948 on she leaves that privileged new england and westchester county new york background and goes to odessa, texas with her mother, mrs. pierce, sending supplies because she thought that they couldn't buy anything in texas. she goes out west and then to
midland. 27, or 29 moves in their 73-year marriage. it was she who connected with the rest of america, not only the west but the midwest and the political zeitgeist, if you will. so her patrician husband was not the best retail politician. let's face it. awkward at times. but he and certainly george w. bush would never have been elected if she had not been the driving force behind them. but so fiercely loyal. let me tell you, as someone who could occasionally get on the wrong side of her -- and all of us who covered them have experienced that -- if you ever said anything negative about the bush men, you had to deal with barbara bush. >> she reserved that right for herself in some cases. andrea mitchell, thank you so much. it is great to hear from you on this. we'll be watching at noon eastern right here on msnbc as andrea reports from houston. michael beschloss, let me turn to you and continue our
conversation about barbara bush and just how significant a historical figure she really is. not just a first lady or a first mother to george w. bush but someone who was a driving force in the political lives of these men who became the leaders of our country. >> you're absolutely right, willie. and andrea said it so well. in barbara bush's case, she always said in later years she was quite frank about the fact that she didn't have a great relationship with nancy reagan, but in one way the two of them were very much alike because you had a president, rather kindly person who wanted to see the best in people, and a first lady who could go in to a room with 20 people, and if there was one there who wanted to harm her husband, she would know, barbara bush would, within about 30, 45 seconds. she provided that to george bush. and for george w. bush, the eldest son of the family, had a very close relationship with his mother. barbara bush used to tell the story -- i once heard her tell
it -- that when george w. was young and his little sister, robin, passed from leukemia, there was one day barbara was at home and one of george w.'s friends came to say you with a'nt to come out to play? and george w. said i can't do it because my mother is so upset, i can't come out. and barbara bush would say how much that upset her. when we hear about barbara bush about as an enforcer and someone who applied a loyalty test, remember that when george w. bush joined the campaign of his father for president in 1988, one of the reasons he was there, he later said, was to make sure who was the -- who in the entourage was loyal to his father, and who was not. who does that sound like? >> michael, going through everything you post online, not only about this event and these two people, george and barbara bush, but they are an assemblage of visual portraits that we see
online about an earlier, easier time in america when people were more polite, when politics was certainly more polite, more professional, in a way. as a historian, what goes through your mind when you see our current president, his tweets, his behavior, his language. you think there will be a michael beschloss 20, 30, 40 years down the road sending out, remember when trump tweeted this in 2018? just curious. what goes through your mind when you take all of this in? >> i think what goes through my mine is that the kind of things that you're talking about, the nastiness, donald trump with the tweets and so forth, my guess is that this is not going to be a permanent feature of american politics. the pendulum will swing back to the way it was for most of american history and political
life. as you know, mike, the way the founders wanted it, they wanted members of congress to duke it out. they felt that that's the way you came up with the best policies. but at the same time, they also wanted compromise. that was the other half of the equation. and what you see in this case is a lot of the duking it out, especially by the president of our time, but not the kind of amity that the founders also wanted. i think that's so strong in our dna that the kind of behavior you are talking about is sort of a temporary detour, and decades from now we will look at this as a temporary time where things changed back the way that they were, the way the founders wanted it. >> instead of those wonderful photographs you tweeted out in a few years, you'll be tweeting out screen grabs of tweets from president trump. presidential historian, michael beschloss, always good to hear from you. thanks so much. coming up, the irs gives taxpayers another day to file after its website crashed yesterday. on tax day. that story straight ahead. keep it on "morning joe."
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joining us now, director of polling at the institute of politics at harvard university. his new numbers from the institute's spring survey of millennials are fresh and hot off the presses. john, good to see you. let me start the a the top here. this is trust in american institutions. the only one above water, the only one with a majority of support is the military at 51%. it goes down from there to congress at 17%. the presidency at 22%. by the way, president trump's job approval -- 25%. what do you see here? >> i see that the 25% number for president trump's approval is same as it was six months ago. it's down six points over the last year. a lot of that is driven by the degree to which young people are concerned about his handling of race relations right now, as well as gun violence. both of those are below the 25% mark and in the low 20%s. but in terms of the overall
concern of nearly every single public institution that we can measure, there is concern. however the difference is rather than stepping back, young people are now absolutely committed to stepping in and transforming those institutions by way of voting in november. >> don't these numbers just follow a trend line you've been bringing us for years now which is the erosion of trust in all institutions? by the way, well before president trump. >> that's the case but there is a new number i'll bring to you. it is the first type we've brought this number since 2001-2002. for the first time we see the younger half of this generation, younger millenials and post millenials, 15-point shift on the efficacy of voting, efficacy of political engagement which means despite folks being uninterested in perhaps what's happening across the country in terms of some politics, they will vote in the election. they see politics being as tangible as it's ever been. they see that through the lens both of the trump administration
but also through the lens of now the -- >> does it mean based on these numbers that you think these younger people will be more willing to get involved in these kind of more traditional ways of serving the public or traditional institutions? i feel like the beginning -- i'm one of the older millenials. for many people who are my age, there was a perception that going to work for the government wasn't actually going to make much of a difference. you needed to go work at a start-up or silicon valley or something along those lines. is that shifting? >> i think you can have both. that's the premise of the poll. the reason we started it almost 20 years ago was what's the disconnect between community service which so many folks outside of college were engaging in but not voting. 18 to 24 year-olds now understand the ballot box is a way to create even quicker change, not just through volunteerism through tangible effects but also through voting. we're seeing this with 18 to 24 year-olds in particular. >> if you look at numbers, guns
top of mind for millenials. 70% of them want stricter gun laws, according to this poll. parkland is probably driving a lot of this. >> i think a lot of politicians particularly on the democratic side will welcome that, take advantage of that sentiment. i don't necessarily think that's going to result in concrete legislative action and that's where you get the dispiriting effect. i wonder the extent to which you can measure efficacy in terms of getting some sort of results. in 2001 you had the same interest in politics but it waned, probably as a result of the fact that the -- what they were expecting, this tectonic shifts in our political consensus didn't materialize. is there a risk of that happening again here in the post parkland movement? >> there is certainly a risk of that. despite the fact -- we talked about this in the fall. despite many people are turning more progressive every single day, only one-third believes the democratic party cares about people like them. so the reason that it waned is because -- it didn't wane right
away. it waned 2009, 2010 after the recession and gridlock. but the wave was the wave that brought the country barack obama specifically i think with the young people playing a central role in that all the way from the first caucus in iowa. so this is the beginning i think of this generation plugging in and potentially forming kind of a movement that can go well beyond the mid-terms. >> we are seeing big voter registration drives for this fall as well. from the harvard institute of politics, always love your polling. up next -- starbucks set to close thousands of stores next month for a one-day training on racial bias. plus, what southwest airlines is saying about that mid-air death involving a woman who was nearly sucked out of the plane at 30,000 feet. keep it on "morning joe." (phone ping) gentlemen, i have just received word! the louisiana purchase, is complete!
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one passenger was killed and seven others were injured when an engine on a southwest airlines flight exploded in mid-air. it happened about 20 minutes into the flight. shrapnel punctured a window and a woman was partially sucked out of the plane. other passengered and flight attendants desperately held on to her but she suffered fatal injuries. that passenger has now been identified as 43-year-old jennifer reardon, a mother of two from albuquerque. the first in-flight death in southwest airlines history. time for "business before the bell" with cnbc's brian sullivan. how's the airline responding this morning? >> the airline responding -- good morning, by the way -- by saying they are going to up the
pace of their aircraft engine inspections. back in 2016, they actually had an engine problem, an engine effective live exploded, good way to say it. but everybody was safe. thankfully that flight landed safely. southwest is the largest carrier by number of planes in the united states by passenger miles flown. they have never had a fatality in air. they did have a 6-year-old on the ground a couple of years ago, about 15 years ago, that did die as a result of an accident. but this is one of the best safety record airlines in the united states. they are saying they are going to up the pace of those inspections. it came down to mental fatigue is what the ntsb guys are saying. basically the metal gets old. part of the fan blade in the turbo fan blew off, came through the wing, then came through the window. obviously you know the story, guys, which is just absolutely unbelievable. i know the passengers tried their best to get miss reardon in the plane. they did get her back in the plane. unfortunately with be it looks like it was too late. just a truly terrible, tragic
incident. something nobody -- i don't think anybody can imagine. >> just a complete nightmare. you lose cabin pressure immediately trying to hold the woman in to the plane. it's unimaginable. unimaginable. let me ask you, brian, on a different topic, about the irs. the website, the system crashing. what happened yesterday? >> little bit of a lighter note here. i guess normally when a website for the government goes down it is a bad thing. maybe a lot of tax procrastinators will be happy about this one, guys. it is like, wow, i get another day to file my taxes. basically this direct pay option went down for the irs yesterday so that was the filing deadline. they've extended the deadline to file your taxes to midnight tonight. i think kind of if you're going to find some humor in this, apparently when you went to pay -- by the way, don't wait until the last day, people. if you do, it said come back december 31st, 9999. i don't know what you're going to be doing that year, willie. but if you and i are around in
9999, we should party like it's 9999. >> that's exactly right. >> we can't wait until then to file our taxes? >> by then our insect overlords will have taken over the planet anyway. taxes will be moot. starbucks, brian sullivan. big story yesterday breaking after the incident in philadelphia. they are going to shut down for a tay to provide racial bias training. >> not a hard decision i don't think by starbucks. 8,000 stores are shutting down for the entire day on may 29th after what happened in philadelphia. it is not the first time they shut down for the day but that was for latte training. this is a much more serious situation here in in the wake of the arrest of it was -- of two african-american men sitting in a starbucks. instead of just saying we're sorry, they are doing something about it and every employee will get racial bias training on that day. >> cnbc's brian sullivan, thanks
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she was warm and wonderful to you until you got out of line. then she wasn't too warm and wonderful. >> she was funny an fierce and said her mind. she was a great role model for me, for sure. i learned how to be a first lady. >> that is president and first lady laura bush just a few minutes ago talking about president bush's mother, barbara bush, who died yesterday at the age of 92. all right, guys. time for some final thoughts. >> so much of the world has changed since barbara bush was the first lady. but so much of the world is still the same. the starbucks story is really an important one. we have to deal with what i call white fear and how white fear puts certain bodies in danger. hopefully we can move forward. we'll see. >> barbara bush, there's an old-fashioned american phrase,
she was a great dame. and she really was. no one i think has noted, this was a woman who lacked vanity, physical vanity. and because of that, you didn't notice that she was beautiful. she was a handsome woman. >> kasie. i just am struck by the contrast in the values of these two families that have led america that's on display right now and i can't help but think about the president is now engaged, we think for the first time on twitter, with stormy daniels. i'm sure that's not easy for melania trump to deal with. >> mike? >> right now, today, this is still the greatest country on god's earth. but i don't want to reach too far back into the past. i don't want too much out of the past but i do miss the sense of honor and character that people like barbara bush and her husband provided to this country. >> more than that, i mean we've talked a lot about her rather unsparing wit and that's a kind
of candor that we come out of politics. she was combative to an individual. she wasn't designed to embarrass a person but to influence them. it wasn't for the benefit of the audience but for them. that's the kind of combative politics that i think we can get back to. >> politics with backbone. >> and some decency to go along with it. our thoughts are with the bush family this morning. that does it for us. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. hi there. good morning. i'm stephanie ruhle with a lot to cover today. starting with a top-secret trip. the president confirms cia director mike pompeo met with north korea's kim jong-un. >> we've also started talking to north korea directly. we have had direct talks at very high levels. and terror in the sky. a southwest jet engine explodes mid flight shattering a window and nearly sucking a passenger fr