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tv   MSNBC Live With David Gura  MSNBC  April 28, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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well, look at the time. that's a wrap of this hour. my colleague david gura is going to take it over. >> hello, everyone. i am david gura. president trump repeating his mantra that there was no collusion and taking credit for the meetings that took place between the leaders of north and south korea. >> a judge halts stormy daniels' lawsuit against president trump as the investigation into the president's personal lawyer continues.
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and inside the clinton campaign, a new book making waves, taking readers inside the inner workings of the 2016 hillary clinton presidential campaign. we begin this hour at the white house where president trump continues to defend rear admiral ronny jackson, who was his pick to head the v.a. as he attacks one of the senators responsible for dr. jackson's decision to withdraw. the president tweeting this "allegations made by senator john tester against admir admiral/dr. ronny jackson are proving false. the secret service deny any of the phony charges that have absolutely devastated the wonderful jackson family. tester should resign. the great people of montana will not stand for in kind of slander when talking of a great human being. admiral jackson is the kind of man that those in montana would respect and admire and now for no reason whatsoever, his reputation has been shattered. not fair, tester!
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we heard the scenario begin to develop during the press conference yesterday with chancellor angela merkel, the president talking about ronny jackson, his son at the naval academy, him as a family man. >> i think it's safe to wager that john tester is not going to follow the president's order to resign. it appears he looking to assign blame for the bungled appoi appointment of jackon. tester montana by 20 points back in the 2016 election and tester as the top democratic senate affairs committee. he raised allegations including that he loosely prescribed medications, he was intoxicated on the job and created a toxic
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environment. when the president says for no reason whatsoever jackson's reputation has been shattered, there are lots of current and former officials who agree agree with him. i talked to several former white house staffers who know jackson who say they understand the allegations amount to brutal character assassination. the president said he sympathized with jackson's situation. take a look. >> i've had it happen to me with the russian collusion hoax. it's a hoax. but i came into the job understanding that things happen. he didn't. he's a great doctor, he's a great admiral. he didn't really think a thing like this could happen. and i think it's a disgrace. >> reporter: so the president calls it a disgrace. there are those who point out this is an entirely predictable predicament given that jackson
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had never reason an agency given the size and importance of the v.a. and that the president picked him merely that he liked him. there are lots of republicans blaming the president, the white house for not properly vetting jackson and for letting a good man twist in the wind. >> and twist he did. there was a question at the end of the press conference yesterday from the box business and christian broadcasting network. that question was who the president might pick next. who might the president have in mind and what it's going to me for those who might weigh accepting a nomination for the president. >> reporter: i can tell you there are senior white house officials who want the acting secretary to stay in place. he has experience of former personnel at the pentagon, he's
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viewed as a staeble place holde. there was some talk that the president might move john kelly over to the v.a. we have not independently reported that. you get the sense here that the president realizes that an official who could fill that position, who has the managerial experience running the second largest agency in country, they would have to take a pay cut. >> and we're seeing some pretty high salaries but that's another story. thank you, geoff, as always. >> am berks let me staber, let . rearronny jackson is a
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great admiral. i'm going to quote a little from a piece that you wrote about all of this. you said if trump likes you or thinks you're valuable to him politically, he's going to defend you, sometimes even when it makes no sense for him politically to do so. what do you make what we're seeing here, the continued defense of ronny jackson after he's withdrawn this nomination? >> i see two things, and they're characters i've seen from president trump from the day he went down that trump tower escalator to announce his candidacy. one is an inability to admit mistakes or back off a position. ronny jackson is someone he really liked. he was willing to go in front of cameras and he said, hey, i
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think the president has such good genes, he could live to 200 if he eats more salads. and the second is the president's loyalty. his personal lawyer, michael cohen, who is in legal trouble is a good example. the president has a reflection to defend people who he feels has been loyal to him and he needs to be loyal back and that's gotten him into some sticky situations, where he's defending ronny jackson, even a republican senate didn't want to consider all the way to an alabama senate candidate accused of molesting 14-year-old girls. >> get in here, i want to get your take on this as well. we had this focus over he's last many days about the fact that he was perhaps prescribing these pills to himself and to others. there was a two-page document from senator john tester passed out to members of the media or
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the committee. this is a guy who was not equipped at least approachly to run what is the second or third largest agtcy in the federal government. >> well, i think it's earn -- entirely possible when he says a good man is left twisting in the wind. we're slowly figuring out in realtime openly in the media and among senators whether or not all these allegations are true. normally when you nominate someone to a major cabinet position, all of this stuff happens in private. you look into all these things. there's a vetting process, right? all presidents follow that, republican, democrat. this is something that donald trump tonight have the patience for. i'm slightly more cynical than amor. it's not a reflectixive habit. this has become for him a very good story. it is entirely possible that a
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good man was slimed in the media and donald trump loves shows of strength. he does not back down. he does not apologize. he understands how strength plays out when we talk about it. so suddenly this is a very good story line for him. if there's anything he knows how to do, it's how to sell a story line exactly like this. >> the president tweeted about this report that was issued by the majority on the house intelligence committee. we saw the schism where democrats went one way and the republicans another. "no collusion," his watch words. what's the consequence of not having a cohesive, working house intelligence committee? >> i think this creates an environment where we're seeing basically the equivalence of a
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political rorschach test. his supporters and republicans on capital punishment can do what the president did today, take this report and say, see, i've been vindicated by a committee in congress who did their own investigation. the problem is you talk to legal experts who back up a lot of democrats' claims on the committee, and i should point out before 2017 this committee was noknown as one of the most bipartisan committee in congress. these fights are not normal for an intelligence committee that deals with such highly classified information, overseas, the intelligence community. but legal experts i've spoken to said there's a lot of big holes in this report, particularly ignoring the conclusion of the entire u.s. intelligence community that russia meddled in the election to help president trump. this report says they meddled, there's no evidence they did it specifically to help the president win.
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>> john brennan, former head of the cia said this "a highly partisan, incomplete and deeply flawed report by a broken house committee means nothing. special counsel's findings will be comprehensive and authoritative. stay tuned, mr. trump. how much do you think this house report matters in the grand scheme of things? >> i don't think it matters much in the grand scheme of things. >> in the town knows there is a shot clock counting down to whenever we get some sort of finding from the mueller investigation. what's happening now and it's a consistent pattern that both trump and republicans in con have been following is how much doubt have can you cast on two things, one is on the medimmed covering things, us and i don't think that we're going to
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remember this report ten years in the future. it's important also to note that so far as from what i can tell, in the report, the parts that aren't redabtcteredacted, it do we discovered he innocent. i didn't discover any evidence of bourbon on my way in here but i also wasn't looking for any. it depends what you're looking for and how hard you're looking. even the redacted document we have doesn't read like an exoneration, but it's possible to use it like one. >> keep looking. brandan greeley, thank you very much, amber, thanks very much to you. and tonight the white house correspondents dinner begins at 9 p.m. eastern time. >> and a judge puts stormy daniels' lawsuit on hold as the president's long-team personal lawyer says he'll take the fifth in another case. we'll bring you everything you need to know about the ongoing
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well, a small victory for president trump in the stormy daniels saga, but with a warning about the president's embattled personal attorney michael cohen. a federal judge in california granted a 90-day delay on daniels law against president trump saying it's likely that michael cohen will face prison charges. it came the same week cohen said he planned to exercise his right to stay silent in the suit against stormy daniels. the president trump on air force i said he knew nothing about the $130,000 but on thursday he confirmed michael cohen did represent him on issue. >> reporter: mr. president, how much of your legal work was handled by michael cohen? >> as a fraction -- he represented me on this crazy
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stormy daniels deal. >> jim, i'm going to take advantage that you've been reporting on this and you're a media columnist as well. let's talk about where that excerpt came from that the president did with "fox & friends." what do you make of that, his willingness to do that and the circumstances surrounding it? >> his staff doesn't look when he does it. he's venting like he's on the often with a friend. their reaction was kind of precious. you can see a look on their face like help us help you. he was just going on and on and contradicting what he said about cohen, which is not a small matter right now. >> let's me ask you about this stay that was handed down. here's what michael avenatti had to say on twitter, "while we
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certainly respect judge otero's 90 day stay order, justice delayed is justice denied." what do you make of how big a setback this might be for him and his client? >> i do not see it as a setback. mr. haavenatti wants to plow ahead. something tells me he's going to stay in the blapublic and push cause. i think what's really indicating is the judge indicates there could be an indictment against michael cohen. this started as small, contractual matter and a hush-up deal with a porn star. >> give me a sense of the enormous legal universe the
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president is in. you have what's happening in new york, what's happening in california. he often jokes he has more lawyers than he wants to have. >> he has also hired lawyers, charles hargrove, who is the lawyer that brought down gawker. and in fact, we're all talking about how he seemed to cont contradict himself. it may help him undo the damage when he said i don't know anything about this because how can he be matter to a contract? he still said what he said before so he stuck with his record of his own statements but it seemed this was more helpful to him than harmful given what he said before. >> there was a piece in the "times" by your colleagues looking at the president's regard. let me read, "the federal investigation is said to be focussing on hush-money for
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stormy daniels and karen mcdougal. what's your as soon sense to th that this is preoccupying the president? just the universe of legal matters they're having to deal with? >> this is one they can fight this directly. the special counsel investigation is way thornier. and it's a secretive process this is playing out in realtime right in front of them. they can try and deal with it. they're not doing a beautiful job of dealing with it. at the end of the day and our reporting has come from the perspective, at the very least we have a campaign finance situation here, possibly illegality. >> jim, thank you very much, leading columnist for the new york city investigative column
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gura. epa administrator scott pruitt has announced strict controls on his own spending.
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after being grilled by lawmakers thursday about alleged unethical activities, his own spending must see approval from three aides. joining me now is democratic congressman debbie dengal. she represents michigan's 12th congressional district. she's one of the lawmakers who questioned the epa administrator on capitol hill this week. let me start with this memo in the news this morning here. from scott pruitt to his staff writing effective immediately, the deputy administrator, chief of staff will have final approval over expenditures by agency personnel over $5,000 on my behalf to execute official duties. is this a step in the direction or is it too little too late?
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>> one, it's too little too late. two, i don't see anybody independent. they still all directly report to him. it would have been nice when he took this job if he had understood what the consequences were of the difference decisions he was making of the different actions from travel to renting a home. and he even did this after the hearing this week. so i think people's confidence in this epa administrator is gone and i don't think there's anything that's going to really restore it. >> excessive travel expenses, $43 soundproof booth in his office, kocondo rental linked t an employee on capitol hill. what's the conversation like with your colleagues across the aisle about this? why is he still in this job do you think? >> well, the president has continued to express confidence
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in him which i don't quite understand. what concerned me more at the hearing this week and there were a lot of questions about his expenditures, et cetera, which are very valid and real, but i asked him questions about a regulation that was promulgated in january on some of the air hazardous pollutants, which are some of the most toxic in this country, which could actually end up increasing pollutants and their impact on people, impact on children, impact on seniors, impact on communities living knorr factories and he couldn't answer any of them. i don't know. i'll have to get back to you, i'll have to get back to you. i come from a state where water has been polluted with lead for our young children. how many communities across the country have environmental crises facing them and i'd like to know there was someone at the epa who cared about what was happening in their communities. >> i'm glad you brought that up.
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we're going to watch your questioning of scott pruitt this week. >> yes or no did epa con didn't an analysis of the increased risk of cancers? >> that's something we'll have to assess and provide. >> did epa conduct an analysis on older americans? >> i hate to be redundant but that's something i'll have to assess and provide. >> he hates to be redundant but he was again and again. what's your sense of what the epa looks like. >> they are going back to pre-60 days. they are trying to gut every environmental program.
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the french president addressed us this week in congress and said there is no planet b. well, there isn't a planet b. i'm really concerned about what is happening. in industry across industry -- the congress, republicans and dems put it back in but it should bother people that somebody who doesn't care about the air we breathe or the water we drink or keeping our fresh waters clean is the person that's the administrator of the epa. >> in a perverse way have these ethics scandals distracted from that? that was maybe evident in the questioning that you did on thursday. do you think americans have lost sight of it, they're not paying attention to the rollback of the regulations? >> i think that's one of the problems that we have in washington.
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i hope people doesn't let their hearts become hardened and we stop paying attention to issues we need to. i think there are decisions to detract people or deflect people from focusing on what real issues that impact us every day by these kind of different scannedals or different things. that's why when i asked him, didn't get into the ethics. i want the american people to know they are rolling back laws that protected them from breathing mercury and formaldehyde and getting lead in water. they're rolling these rules back. and, you know, we think that america's safe now, that we can live in communities and be safe. i've got a neighborhood in my own hometown that the kids' increase in asthma has dramatically increased and now seniors' is going up. we do need to worry about this. we should be able to live in this country and keep and protect our air, our environment. >> last question here just about
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vetting. we had a new secretary of state confirmed by a very narrow margin, the narrowest margin ever by the full senate. you've got ronny jackson put forward by the president. he with draws his nomination. does experience matter less? you have to defer to the president as he to who he thinks should be the leader of the agencies. what's the status of experience, having the proper or right experience today. you mentioned people's hearts getting cold to the way that things are. are we at a point where professional expertise no longer matters as much as it should in water? >> no, i don't think it no longer matters and i think we all need to worry about ensuring that we're getting good, seasoned people into these jobs that know what they're talking about. what i worry most about, a lot of people are not going to want to go in community service.
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our community, our scivics a as good as the people willing to serve. our democracy is one of greatest governments in the world but that means we all knneed to participate. i fear people are looking at what's happening and getting turned off and want nothing to do with it. we've got to keep working together and be civil towards one another. i do think we need to be vetting these candidates more. the president is entitled to pick who he wants but some of the people are not qualified for the jobs they're being nominated for. how do we respect the president and also protect our country. >> congresswoman debbie dingell. >> the president promised to drain the swamp.
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let's not forget about rear admiral ronny jackson, prumesidt trump's pick to head the v.a. joining me is a prior chairman of hud. how much expertise matters in washington d.c., as you look at the president's cabinet, all the scandals swirling around it, what's your reaction to it? >> well, david, look, i think ultimately it's a reflection of the leadership at the top. as a conservative, i would argue that when you think about conservatism, at least in the age of donald trump, it an ideology that is in contempt of itself and consequently because of i think that is in part why you see so much chaos going on throughout the agencies. republicans in the house and in the senate, they have been moot,
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they have been quiet. each of these issues increase and increase and increase. i can't imagine this ever happening under the administrations of barack obama and republicans stayed quiet. i can't imagine it happening under the administration of george w. bush and republicans not trying to do self-reflection to correct course. and here we are under donald trump and we've done nothing. it's hard to critique cab in in members when the guy at the top is doing the exact same thing. >> reporting from the a.p. this week, the head of the cdc makes $375,000. what does the role of money play in this?
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there isn't much fiduciary duty to the tabs paxpayer. >> as a republican, we say we will guard and protect the taxpayers' money. but you have mulvaney and others using their various budgets as their personal piggy banks. i think there's a lot of absurdity and hypocrisy there. independents have to ask of themselves is the same party i voted for several years ago. even those who may not vote republican but have applauded the fact that we have a tw two-party system here, they say what in the world is going on? i am extremely concerned that we are stepping away from the beliefs and ideals that have designed us as a party.
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if we continue on this course, david, at some point we're going to jump off the cliff, right? and it's my hope that other individuals, including myself, continue to speak up and remind the republican party of the values and the beliefs that it continues to purport it maintains. >> michael singleton, great to see you. i'll be on 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. he'll be back with me then. >> russia revealed the attorney that met with the trump cam pan and confirms her connection to a russian government official in an nbc exclusive. what it means for the russia investigation. d work life witho. ♪ ♪ and don't forget who you're really working for without it. ♪ ♪ funding to help grow your business... ♪ ♪ another way we have your back. ♪ ♪ the powerful backing of american express.
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go to priceline. new details surfacing regarding thein famous trump tower meeting back in june of 16. attorney general veselnitskaya said "i operate independently of
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any governmental bodies." but in an interview with richard engel, here is what she had to say. >> the only reason i'm asking you these questions is because of the contact you've had with the most senior people in our government. >> you said your relationship with the prosecutor general is what? >> meanwhile on another note, republicans on the house intelligence committee released their foundiindings of the russ investigation saying they found no evidence that the trump campaign colluded, contributed or conspired with the russian government. let's start with the lawyer if
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we could hear, malcolm. that one line at the end, "i'm a lawyer and i'm an informant." what do you make of what she had to say in that interview with richard engel? >> first of all, fascinating interview with richard engel. that's some incredible television. just amazed he got her to essentially confess to a certain extent that she was a lot more than she had portrayed when she had spoken in the united states. my first takeaway is that she was more than an informant. i had long suspected she had ties to russian interview and she confesses that, too, that she was a legal officer and advocate to a certain extent for a military unit, quote unquote, associated with the fsb, russian intelligence. that is the gru. >> give me your sense for what this means to the russian investigation more broadly. go back to the meeting in trump
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tower. how much does this about face that we saw there on display stand to change the investigation as we know it's proceeding now, malcolm? >> well, you know, they argued that they were not meeting with representatives of the government of russia, even though the e-mail chain said that they were, that the information was coming from the crown prosecutor's office, which is essentially the attorney general of russia, and that these representatives that were bringing this information there were coming in -- working for the government of russia. then after that meeting they said that none of these individuals were doing that, they were private citizens. now we know they may be russian intelligence officers or intelligence assets. that changes the entire dynamic of of this. that they were there to conspire with them to receive this information, which would have been damaging to hillary clinton, that in itself has
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changed the entire fabric of that story. and it makes the air force i story a year later where they created a cover story a little more nefarious. >> yeah, about adoptions and what not. i mentioned the story about republicans on the house intelligence committee releasing their report. >> we were honored. it was a great report. no collusion, which i knew anyway, no coordination, no nothing. the report was very powerful and strong, no collusion between the trump campaign and russian people. i was very honored by the report. it was totally conclusive, strong, powerful. many things said that nobody knew about and said in a very strong way. >> a great report, a powerful report, a strong report, he was honored by the report. malcolm, what's the takeaway from this? you look at the house intelligence committee, which i
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think we can agree is just a mess at this point. i think there's a physical wall they've constructed between them up on capitol hill. how damaging is that when you look at the oversight of the intelligence community? >> it terrifically damaging. i mean, it's this committee's responsibility to hear all of the prakoperations going on and provide find funding to them, to identify threats to the citizens of the united states and offer policies to combat those threats. it's dysfunctional. it like the republicans don't want to do the job anymore unless they can actually damage the democrat beiic party and prt the presidency. i fond und it amazing that president trump said it was a conclusive report. it was completely inconclusive. they said that in their own report. by saying there was no
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conspiracy, no collusion, they specified numerous examples of where there was collusion, cooperation and then they characterized them as not being what you could plainly read in front of you. this is not going to help them. the united states is in a more dangerous position because this committee is not functioning as it was envisaged. it is now functioning as an arm to protect the president, and that in itself could seriously harm our national security. >> malcolm, thank you very much. as always, that's malcolm nannantz. >> the president trump weighing in on the events taking place on the korean peninsula. "just had a long and very good talk with president moon of south korea. the president is referring to a meeting he plans to have can kim jong un later this year. joining us with the latest is
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janice mackey frayer. >> reporter: the joint declaration with the south korean president is short on specifics. there's no timelines, no definitions. people say they've been down this road before. but considering the threats of war being exchanged even a knew months ago, it is extraordinary something is on the table. now it could be up to the u.s. and the summit that kim jong un will have with president trump. there are still a lot of unknowns. what is it that kim jong un wants? will he expect to retain part of an arsenal he's never shown a willingness to give up before. china is the gatekeeper on sanctions and north korea is
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looking to build their economy. president trump assad they're close to setting a time and location near the sum the and needless to say the expectations are high. >> coming up, chasing hillary. the new book takes a look from inside the clinton campaign. vo: gopi has built her business with her own two hands.
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hillary clinton as much as amy. she was on the campaign with her in 2008 and in 2016. she writes about hillary clinton's relationship with the press. it's great to have you here. thanks for having me. how did this assignment come about? you were covering her as a candidate well before she announced she was going to be one. how did that come about? >> my first experience covering hillary clinton, hi been a foreign correspondent in japan. and the bureau chief said how would you like to go hito iowa d cover hillary clinton. so i wasn't sure what a caucus was. in 2013, hillary had left the state department. it looked like she was going to run for president. and they put me on the hillary beat.
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>> you described some naivety there. how difficult was it to be you amy chozick? >> i thought i'm covering the first woman president for the paper of record. the more i dug into the relationship, there was a lot of bad blood between their world and ours dating back to the '90s, from whitewater that was passed on from editor to editor. at one point one of her aides blamed me for whitewater, which was i was like 12. the country thinks the liberal "new york times" but there's a serious toxic relationship that continued into 2016.
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>> how much did that world evolve, the approach to campaigning chang? >> i always think she was a better candidate in 2008 and she had a better campaign in 2016. she had been a new york senator, a popular senator, very involved in upstate constituents, going to factory towns and farms. she was very in touch with voters in 2008. she also had a hard core, new york tabloid guys press corps. she was very used to bantering with her press corps in 2008. and move forward to 2016 and she was secretary of state. she's written in fairness she was surprised at the level of anger in the country. >> people have said we didn't know much about her as a personality. she wasn't likable, that's something we've heard time and time again. you write in this book about how you would find details or things of interest about her and you
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would meet pushback by campaign staff about going with them. why is that and what does it say regard to the campaign's relationship to the press and regarding to hillary clinton's reputation? >> i think there was a lot of distrust there. there was a lot of control, image control. in fairness, they thought they were going to win. so why would you take a risk with a story you didn't commission, come up with and shape. they can't shape the "new york times" stories obviously so there was always an element of risk. but to your point, it really hard to find new chapters of hillary clinton's life. people feel they already know her. i spent a lot of time digging into when she was a lawyer for at children's defense fund and give voters a sense of who this person is. >> you're on tour from the book.
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you got a retweet from chelsea clinton. >> 35. >> hi, amy chozick. hearing there are mom tidbits about me in your book which were easily fact checked and you fact checked none of them. >> i could identify with her when i was growing up in texas and she was the same age. have i kept copious notes going back to bill clinton's kindergarten friends and so i'm confident in my sourcing. but i think more broadly and this is not to chelsea's complaint, there has been efforts to discredit books about the clintons that were unauthorized for 30 years. what's unfortunate is i think my book is sympathetic and nuance and take a fair amount of criticism and i put all that criticism on myself. i think i'm equally as hard on
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myself as i am on my subject. i wish people would understand that before jumping to conclusions about hair treatments. >> coming up in our next hour, notable absence, the president once again opts out of a washington tradition to again hold a campaign-style rally. i'll be hosting special coverage of that event tonight between 7 and 9 p.m. >> donald trump said he will run for president as a republican, which is surprising because i just assumed he was running as a joke. luckily for brad, this isn't a worry because he's discovered super poligrip. it holds his denture tight and helps give him 65% more chewing power. leaving brad to dig in and enjoy the tastiest of t-bones. super poligrip, helping you enjoy the foods you love.
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hello, everybody. i'm david gura at msnbc headquarters in new york. getting testy. spending cap, self-imposed restrictions on embattled epa chief scott pruitt. kremlin connection. the russian lawyer in that now infamous trump tower meeting in 2016 reveals her connection to a russian government official. that is an nbc exclusive interview. we begin this hour with a new target for president trump. that is one senator john tester. the montana democrat was instrumental in ronny jackson's withdrawal as virginia secretary nominee. the president tweeted allegations made

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