tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC May 4, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT
i'm andrea mitchell. chris jansing takes it over in new york. >> thank you so much, andrea. good afternoon from our msnbc headquarters i am chris jansing in for craig melvin. trump's talking. the president clearly has a lot to get off his chest, ripping to reporters on his way to dallas saying giuliani will get his facts straight, as giuliani himself says he'll issue a correction soon. plus -- credibility crisis. the white house press secretary gets pounded with reporters' questions about the misinformation and lies coming out of the white house, even as she is forced to backtrack, and the president makes more misleading statements today.
and check your gun at the door. at the nra's national convention, as the president and vice president get ready to address their pro-gun supporters, unhappy gun owners are bringing a ban on bringing their own guns to the event. and promise of a correction from rudy giuliani that could come any minute who ignite add firestorm with comments about what the president knew about payments to stormy daniels. the headlines after giuliani spoke were brutal. legal analysts suggesting he may well have put trump in more legal jeopardy when he said trump repaid cohen for the daniels' hush money. the president came out today and said giuliani would be issuing a statement and added that when it comes to paying daniels, giuliani doesn't know what he's talking about. >> i will tell you this -- when rudy made the statement, rudy's great, but rudy had just started, and he wasn't totally
familiar with everything, and rudy -- we love rudy, he's a special guy. what he really understands is that this a witch-hunt. he'll get his facts straight. he's a great guy. you're going to find out. we'll give a full list and people know, and -- very truly, everything said, has been said inkreccorrectly or covered wron the press. >> have you changed at all about being will to be sit with robert mueller? >> the problem with sitting is this. you have a group of investiga investigators and they say i'm not a target and i'm not a target, but you have a group of investigators that are all democrats. in some cases they went to the hillary clinton celebration that turned out to about funeral. you have all of these investigators that are democrats. in all fairness, bob mueller worked for obama for eight
years. >> and story on stormy daniels? >> we're not changing any stories. all i'm telling you is that this country is right now running so smooth, and to be bringing up that kind of crap and to be bringing up witch-hunts all the time, that's all you want to talk about, you're going to see -- u. said on air force -- >> excuse me. excuse me. >> -- payments -- >> go back and look what i said. you'll see what i said. >> wow. get right to msnbc white house correspondent geoff bennett. quite a scene on the north lawn. then onboard air force one. look, we already knew white house officials were blindsided by giuliani's comments on the stormy daniels payment. what are you hearing now from white house officials? did the president have no choice but to, as some people are interpreting this, throw giuliani under the bus? >> reporter: it certainly appears that way. here's one reason why. rudy giuliani gave nbc an interview, spoke to kristen welker saying he and the
president were on the same page. you're going to see daylight between the president and me. we'll work hard to have a consistent vstrategy. then the president was singing a very different tune. take a look. >> he's working hard, he's learning the subject matter, and he's going to be issuing a statement, too, but he is a great guy. >> reporter: now, we understand that mayor giuliani is going to be issuing that statement, he said soon. could come in minutes. when we get it we will share it with you. the reason it matters, of course, because of statements raised all new questions about the president's truthfulness, the ability of his own press team to speak honestly on his behalf and raises in scrutiny whether the stormy daniels is a
part of campaign contributions. president trump is set to address the crowd, it's a friendly crowd and tended to go off-script. we'll see if he says anything about the mayor or stormy daniels to this crowd. >> we'll watch that closely. thank you. bringing in phil rucker, white house bureau chief for the "washington post" and msnbc political analyst. stephen cash, former prosecutor for the senate intelligence committee and msnbc legal analyst danny savalas. phil, even before the extraordinary chain of events we watched unfold this morning, you wrote the inside story on giuliani's statements, who thought, i guess, he was lessening the president's exposure with what he will to say. kind of quickly, giving us whiplash. the president threw giuliani under the bus suggesting he didn't know what he was talking about. giuliani will correct himself on the record. what is going on? >> clearly something giuliani said in that series of interviews and it was truly a
media blitz over the last 48 hours, that is creating legal problems, potentially, for the president. that's why giuliani as his lawyer it trying to clean up that statement, but the -- >> some other lawyer on his staff got to him and said, this is trouble? is he watching cable news or reading the newspaper headlines that say -- >> it may be. >> this is bad? >> the strategy for giuliani to come out the other day and start talking about this so publicly was hatched only by giuliani and president trump. the other lawyers who are part of the president's defense in the russia matter were not aware of this strategy or aware of giuliani's plan and weren't aware trump repaid that money to michael cohen. these are all new facts for them. >> i want to understand what you're saying. you're saying the president knew of the strategy, your sources tell you that rudy giuliani went out, as he said he did, with the president's blessing, to say what he said. >> that's correct. >> but now the president is doing a complete about-face and saying, we need a correction here. he didn't know what he was
saying? >> that's correct and, chris, by all accounts in the immediate aftermath of giuliani's interview with hannity on fox wednesday night, the president was pleased with that performance's no indication from the president publicly all day yesterday he was anything but happy with what his lawyer, giuliani, was doing. in fact, he had a trio of tweets yesterday morning reiterating some of what giuliani had unveiled in that fox interview, and so it's only today that we're learning that giuliani's going to do a cleanup act and that the president is saying he didn't get his facts right. >> and these jaw-dropping changes started early this morning on emergen"morning joe, deutsch, cave him a call after the giuliani thing asked about it. let's listen to what donny deutsch had 20 say. >> i spoke with michael cohen yesterday. his call about giuliani he doesn't know what he's talking about and said, look, there are two people that know exactly what happened. myself and the president. you'll hear my side of the
story. and he was obviously very frustrated with what had come out yesterday. >> so danny savalas, essentially that -- what michael cohen said to donny deutsch echoes now what we've heard from the president. from a prosecutor's point of view, legal, as opposed to a political analysis what do you make of what we've seen over the last 12 hours or so? >> number one, i was on that segment with donny deutsch and i think something that went under the radar was michael cohen apparently saying you'll hear my story soon. what does that mean? >> what does that mean? >> he'll be telling u.s. attorneys toon or just expects to go to trial? it's interesting. when we go back to rudy giuliani and the events of just of the last 48 hours, you have a situation where an attorney comes on very, very soon afterwards, makes a media appearance and defense attorneys -- >> can we just say, he was not asked about this. he just when -- he decided he was going to get this out there.
there was not part of the conversation and, in fact, i argue, watching the tape, sean hannity seemed a little taken aback. >> two ways of looking at this. one hand, this might be a brilliantly calculated maneuver, he appears extemporaneous, casually drilling home some of their new bullet points and new talking points for the defense. on the other hand, could be a case of a defense attorney just getting too comfortable on set during an interview and going into an area defense attorneys really shouldn't. it's okay to challenge the prosecution's facts or challenge investigators' facts. generally, it doesn't advance your client's interest to criticize the prosecution, to call them names like storm troopers, as he referred to investigators, and it doesn't help to wander off into areas that simply don't advance your client's primary interest, which in this case is the mueller investigation, the southern district of new york, and don't talk about things that are factually based unless you need to, because in tern
circumstances an attorney can bind his client with his statements. >> steve, rudy giuliani then gave a phone interview overnight to nbc news, and said the payment to stormy daniels by michael cohen was not a campaign issue. "cohen thought he was doing it to help alleviate the personal problem." then giuliani, maybe i don't know. you tell me, may have muddied the waters a bit with this comment yesterday on fox. >> imagine if that came out on october 15th, 2016, in the middle of the, last debate with hillary clinton? >> make it go away, they made this -- >> cohen didn't even ask. cohen didn't -- cohen made it go away. did his job. >> if you're worried about it coming out during a debate does that not suggest there's a political motive here? what do you make of all this? >> well, it certainly raises the issue, because in terms of particularly the fec issues, campaign finance rules, we're talking about the relationship
to a political campaign and election. so raising that issue in an interview puts a very strong light on it, and we're all talking about it today. however, from the prosecutor's point of view, i think what people need to realize is, a team like mueller's team which is, these are serious department of justice employees, they're busily working away and a lot of what we're looking at right now in the tweets and the statements and the counterstatements are noise outside the window. they're trucking along. >> all this stuff we're talking about is not necessarily of any specific or important interest to those investigators? >> it certainly is of interest. it's the subject matter there, they're looking at. but their time frame and their focus as as investigators is going to be longer than the news cycle and we've all come to expect certainly a torrent of news and storying that go back and forth that we see on the networks and we see on twitter, but the prosecutors have a big
stack of documents in front of them, and they have subpoena returns coming in and they're interviewing witnesses. obviously they're aware of these statements and will follow-up on them, but it's very important to see two things going on here. an effort to explain rightly or wrongly to the american people what's going on, and that's through the media. setting a narrative, and we can discuss whether it's accurate or not. and then there's the defense lawyers' job. keep your client out of criminal jeopardy. those are different things, and the -- the arena in which you fight is different. and i think that's an important distinction to make. >> danny, can we just go back to the beginning. because all of this is about this $130,000 payment. legally speaking, is that a lot of money? i mean -- to me, you know, they tried to dismiss it by saying, you know, maybe not a drop in the bucket for donald trump, but not that much money. it could seem to me if you
opened yourself up to paying somebody $130,000 who is lying -- that doesn't make sense to me, if it's a nuisance, let it go away. maybe -- you know, a small amount of money, but $130,000? did that make sense to a prosecutor? >> i've been on both sides of the plaintiff and the defense in making demands and receiving demands to settle cases, and there's a concept called nuisance value. that's the idea that as a business, sometimes you don't think that somebody has anything on you, but you realize that the cost of litigation might be more than it's worth and you offer the nuisance value to make them go away. >> like how much? >> that's the thing. take some of the biggest companies in the world. companies with billions of dollars, and when they believe something is nuisance value, they don't offer $130,000. they offer $1,000. i'm not kidding. talking about major banks. major government entities.
when they believe it's nuisance value, they would rather fight the case, because, if you get the reputation as the company that offers $100,000-plus for completely baseless claims not based in truth whatsoever, believe me. word gets out quickly among the plaintiff's bar and no business can apofford to do that. something like trump take as business view of the world, anybody with any tangible claim against me i will quietly and immediately settle it for $130,000 flies in the face of what any insurance defense attorney or plaintiffs attorney will tell you about the reality of nuisance litigation. >> completely out of time. phil rucker, get you on the record for 30 seconds. on the other thing that's buried in all this, the president repeating malt toll times today, nobody wants to speak to robert mueller more than he does. do you read anything into that? he's said before he'd like to do this interview, and, oh, by the way. he said that he would override
the feelings of his legal team. >> yes. so trump's legal team for some time has tried to keep him from doing that interview with mueller. the president's instinct is to want to do the interview, because he thinks he is sort of the master salesman and has charisma and would be able to somehow convince mueller and his investigators he's done nothing wrong, but that shifted as soon as this cohen raid happened. trump became very intag niantag against mueller. he's trying to express an openness to doing it if they can narrow the scope of questioning. >> phil rucker, thanks, much appreciated to you all. meantime, paul manafort's case, his attorney wrapped up. manafort lawyer asked for bank fraud charges to be dismissed against him. ken delanian was as that hearing and joins me now. walk us through what the judge told both legal teams?
>> reporter: nothing changed legally. the judge did not rule on the motion to dismiss charges but he smacked around the mueller team about an hour with really tough questions and tough rhetoric. now, it's common actually for a federal judge to give the government a hard time and rule in their favor but the things the judge said are getting a lot of attention between right wing media and boomeranging, judge mocks mueller team good bgettin rebuke. you just want to squeeze him to get information to impeach donald trump, the judge said. at another point the judge said we don't want anyone with unfettered power. a $10 million budget, sort of much more resources than a typical prosecution. the mueller team responded calmly, look, everything, all the charges against paul manafort are within the scope of our investigation into rushed collusion. he was chairman of the trump campaign. he had business interests with ukraine, getting paid and we
followed the money and these are the crimes we found. the judge was skeptical of the idea that those crimes had anything to do with russia collusion, but he did not rule. we'll see actually where it ends up. >> ken delanian, thank you, as always. up next, credibility crisis. white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders asked point blank my the press corps how the american people can believe her or the president when there are so many conflicting statements on a daily basis. are they losing the trust of the american people? and we've got the writer of that bombshell report accusing an epa staffer of planting stories slamming the interior secretary to take the heat off his own embattled boss scott pruitt. and the white house reportedly not happy about it. (vo) what if this didn't have to happen? i didn't see it. (vo) what if we could go back? what if our car...
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the credibility crisis facing this white house seems to be hitting a crescendo this week and not just because of questions about the payment made to stormy daniels. president trump made a false claim just this morning about special counsel robert mueller. >> -- have you changed your mind at all about being willing to sit with robert mueller? >> well, the problem with sitting is this. you have a group of investigators and they say that i am not a target, and i'm not a target. of all of these investigators they're democrats, in all fairness, bob mueller worked for obama for eight years. >> mueller was actually fbi
director 12 years, only 5 under president obama and he was appointed by george wmplgts bush. white house press secretary sarah sanders was pressed repeatedly about the president's credibility yesterday. >> when the president so often says things that turn out not to be true, how are the american people to trust or believe what is said here or what is said by the president? >> ah, we give the very best information that we have at the time. i do that every single day and will continue to do that every day i'm in this position. >> the "washington post" keeps a running count of the president's false or misleading statements since taking office. that number officially surpassed 3,000 this week. about 6.5 falsehoods per day. michael steele, senior adviser to george bush and senior adviser to the dnc during the 2016 campaign is with us, also. sarah huckabee sanders says she's giving the press the best
information. clearly it's the way she decided to address this question of lies, because listen to this. all of it just yesterday. >> we give the very best information that we have. we give the best information possible at the time. >> i've given the best information i had at the time. >> again, i give you the best information that i. >> i'm giving the best information i have. some information i'm aware of and some i'm not. when i can answer i'm not, beyond that i really don't have anything to add. >> so michael, at the m communications strategy to ignore the fact that president often makes misrepresentations to show absolutely are not correct. does "best information i have" fly? >> i think that's the best that sarah sanders can do and i feel horribly for her, like i do so many people working in this white house, trying to do the right thing for the american people and being undermined by the president himself. when it comes to this issue, it's clear now rudy giuliani and president trump are driving the
train. they are thelma and louise style headed for the cliff and the only people making these decisions and know what's going on. >> if we believe that sarah sanders is not herself misrepresenting but only saying what she knows, and that those things that she knows are false, or misrepresentations, how long do you continue to work for someone who keeps feeding you bad or incomplete information? >> it's not -- >> i'll take that. >> michael, start with michael and -- >> yeah. go ahead. >> sure. it's not something i would personally be comfortable with. at the same time, the job of white house press secretary, the people who work in the west wing, those jobs to the american economy, to america's national security are critically important and if they aren't done by the best people possible, their replacements will be the kind of people who make mistakes that will cost us jobs and american lives overseas. i believe the people working
there are doing it because they genuinely believe they are better suited to get these jobs done and protect our people in our economy than whoever would replace them. >> is that what's going on here? >> look, you know, the president is the tom brady of lying. he is a pathological liar who has really since his business career has, you know, had a dishonest streak and what is challenging for his staff. mike and i both have been spokespeople for the federal government. their staff, you know, we're paid by the taxpayers. his staff is paid by the taxpayers's you have an obligation to go out there and tell the truth. if you don't know the truth, then you shouldn't say something that you think might be dishonest. i think everyone, when you're getting a taxpayer check, you have an obligation to either go out there and tell the truth or just say, look, i'm not quite sure. i'll have to get back to you. >> beyond the daniels stuff just this week we found out the doctor we thought called donald trump the healthiest individual
ever elected says it was actually trump who wrote that. i guess health certification. trump said he was happy with his legal team and then hired someone he actually criticized in the "new york times" for suggesting he might hire. today he said giuliani only started yesterday. in fact, he started two weeks ago. how do you sort of -- pus that all together with the fact, doug that clearly the president considers himself, and we saw it with him walking to the camera multiple times today, to be his own best spokesman? >> yeah. i mean, i don't know how you put -- look, i think part of the thing with trump is that his dishonesty, a lot of the character flaws he has, they're sort of baked in for his supporters, and also baked in for the people who oppose him. when you're looking at 2018 and the mid-terms it's those independent voters who, you know, who are probably getting a bit exhausted over the chaos,
the dysfunction. you know, everything that we see on a daily basis that really -- creates a level of anxiety for voters that they just don't trust that this administration, that this government, is really capable of handling a crisis or even capable of handling our economy. >> speaking of the economy, just today the president said things are going phenomenally well. specifically cited the jobs report. but then here's what the chair of the white house council of economic advisers said -- >> there's a heck of a lot of good news in this report. that the number, the 163 number, that absolutely was a little disappointing. >> so disappointing or absolutely phenomenal. michael, again, as somebody who has been a spokesperson before, separate from outright lies or misinformation, what can be done, or can anything be done, to get this administration on the same page? >> look, if you look at the big picture. we had the unemployment rate below 4% for the --
>> i'm not asking about the economy. i'm asking about messaging. the american people being able to listen to somebody on their payroll from the president on down and know what they're saying is speaking for the administration? >> right. what i'm saying, any good news, any success, any achievement from this administration is undermined by the president's persistent failure to speak honestly, communicate honestly with the american people. the changing stories about payoffs to pornographic film actresses or playboy centerfolds, whatever the scandal of the day is is taking away from the ability of the people defending the united states and protecting our economy to do their jobs and communicate that to the american people. >> we are looking at air force one right now. it has touched down in dallas. the president is going to the nra, very friendly, obviously, group of folks, even though there was some controversy about the fact that there aren't guns allowed there. something the secret service does not allow but some members
of the nra weren't happy about that and also breaking news that involved, i am told, the vice president. i guess to that extent the white house medical staff. kelly o'donnell is standing by having confirmed a new resignation. what can you tell us, kelly? >> reporter: good to be with you, chris. this involves the physician who has been serving as the doctor to the vice president. a part of the military medical unit here in the white house. dr. jennifer pena. she submitted her resignation. not something has goes through the vice president's office, but is, again, a part of the military chain of command. this, of course, would be the second time we've had a change in the staffing to the president and now vice president with both of their doctors out of the mix. at first we, of course, saw ronny jackson, physician to three presidents including president trump, being offered the position of secretary of veterans affairs that was derailed for reasons both political, experiential and all of the furor over allegations
raised about some of his conduct on the job, and questions about his readiness to serve in such a role. nbc news can report that she submitted this resignation and that some questions were raised through the vice president's chief of staff who went to john kelly, the president's chief of staff, and deputy chief of staff to say there were concerns from dr. pena about ronny jackson and his leadership, office environment, things of that nature. she was told from the political side here that those had to be addressed through the military. again, these doctors are active duty military and they serve not only the president and vice president and their families but staff more broadly here at the white house. she is stepping away from this position. where she will head next, she's been a part of the white house medical unit a number of years pre-dating the current trump administration. this is another change from a
department we so rarely talk about in terms of anything beyond an annual physical for a president or vice president. so it is a, another shake-up here when we're trying to get more details about what was really behind it. chris? >> kelly o'donnell, thank you for that breaking news. michael steele, doug parnell, thank you as well. president trump, as we said, just arriving, and bringing the stairs over to air force one. getting ready to address that friendly audience at the nra annual convention. we'll squeeze in a brief break and be right back after this. but i'm relentless too. mbc doesn't take a day off, and neither will i. and i treat my mbc with new everyday verzenio- the only one of its kind that can be taken every day. in fact, verzenio is a cdk4 & 6 inhibitor for postmenopausal women with hr+, her2- mbc, approved, with hormonal therapy, as an everyday treatment
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and now to a controversial racially charged and dramatically questionable new ad from west virginia republican senate candidate don blankenship attacking senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and his wife, transportation secretariy elaine chao born in taiwan. >> mitch mcconnell created millions of jobs for china people. while doing so mitch has gotten rich. in fact, his china family has given him tens of millions of dollars.
>> even donald trump jr. tweeted, reject blackenship no more fumbles like alabama. we need to win in november. msnbc's garrett haake is on capitol hill. reminding people the say blackenship who served prison time for his role in a mining explosion that killed 29 people, but to capitol hill, how worried are senate republicans that he could hurt their chances against joe manchin who is a vulnerable incumbent. >> reporter: very worried. another incident you could have a roy moore problem for senate republicans. they remember that loss keenly did not intervene aggressively and it was a three-way tie in alabama to is to be roy moore and confident enough lirnuther strange, replacing jeff sessions would beat him in a runoff and they lost that seat. in no small feat because the candidate was such a disaster. republicans see blankenship as a similar disaster and he keeps
giving them more reasons to feel that way as evidenced by that incredibly bizarre and dishonest ad. you're not hearing a lot from elected officials in part because this is a week they're not here, but i suspect it will come up in greater detail when they return ahead of the primary there in west virginia, but we have heard from some of mcconnell's closest allies including his former chief of staff josh holmes who came out very strongly, perfectly willing to be quoted going after blankenship and said in a tweet picked up, for those asking, my response to west virginia roy moore, "this clown is a walking, talking case study for the limitations of prison's inability to rehabilitate." spending money to hearse blankenship and seems to be working. so far slipping in polls in west virginia where republicans would prefer either of the two other candidates to face-off against joe manchin in the fall. >> we've talked a lot about
messagingmessaging goes that tw effective. >> reporter: certainly to the point. >> garrett haake, thank you from capitol hill. president trump just arrived in dallas headed to address the nra defense. underway was vice president pence speaking and -- well, no. actually he's not. i'm told now they're running about 20 minutes behind, but the president will be introduced by the head of the nra, who you may recall said this shortly after the sandy hook school shooting. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. >> we'll talk about this question. why can't gun owners bring their guns to this event? so he took aleve this morning. if he'd taken tylenol, he'd be stopping for more pills right now. only aleve has the strength to stop tough pain for up to 12 hours with just one pill.
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atlantic" who wrote the story, you identify michael abboud. what did sources tell you and what did your investigation show you he was going? >> what michael abboud did is tried to plant stories about a member of ryan zinke's press team with outlets and suggest that this ryan zinke staffer tried to plant stories negative about xos pruitscott pruitt, if follow that at all. my investigations found most reporter said i don't think the story has legs. interesting about this, the white house caught michael abboud doing this. what happened is the interior department were able to ascertain that abboud was, in fact, the one behind the push to plant these stories, and they pr reprimanded him asking epa officials whether they have the authority to fire him. >> so, i mean, was this the situation where we believed this staffer was going rogue?
how did this all come about? >> my reporting suggests he did this under the direction of someone. i'm still reporting this out and not comfortable reporting definitively who exactly directed him to do this, but i can say that this was not an issue of a press assistant free lancing, if you will. >> is there any suggestion that all of this is adding to this sort of murmur that scott pruitt has got to go? the "washington post" reported this today -- "pruitt drew up a list of at least a dozen countries he hoped to visit and urged dates to help him find official reasons to travel. he enlisted political friends and allies to help make the trips happen." i mean, there are people asking, how is he still head of the epa? what's the buzz you're hearing as you're talking to folks about this? >> he still is head of epa because right now has not, he has not offended the one person
who matters in this white house. and that is president donald trump. i can report pretty much convincetively that nearly every epa official, including his own political appointees, are tired of the daily news from the press and want it to go way. the reason you're seeing so many leave the epa. not getting pushed out necessarily just tired of waking up to firestorm after firestorm. same with sources at the white house. i don't know of anybody else that donald trump who wants this epa administrator still there. pruitt is smart enough to know as long as he maintains a camaraderie with president trump, his job is perfectly safe. >> and i make the argument, beyond the camaraderie, he is doing what the president said he wants him to do. the president sees a lot of epa regulations that came about, particularly under the obama administration as job killers, and he sees that you've got
ahead of the epa who's dismantling them. >> this is actually an interesting point. glad you brought this up. if you dig deeply into what specifically scott pruitt has done at the epa, he has instigated the rollback of a lot of obama-era regulations. right about that. for the most part they're tide up in litigation. not many things have actually been implemented. this is a case of, you know, donald trump listening to outlets he finds friendly, who kind of parrot this narrative and at this point it's almost like reporters accepted as facts and don't challenge it. the reality, not only is scott pruitt is major administration, hasn't accomplished as much as they say he has. >> working for a president, i argue, used to having litigation. right? scott pruitt has done what he wants him to do. make the attempt to do this. the fact it's tied up in
legislation he wouldn't blame on pruitt but on the system. >> that's perhaps. >> keep us posted as you continue to develop into this. >> absolutely. thank you. and looking at live pictures from the nra convention in dallas. the president and vice president are attending and gun rights advocates are told, leave your guns at home. now, on the flight to texas, the president told reporters he has a record crowd for this event and the posters say the ticket counters say tickets are completely solds o lly sold out. joining me, her son was shot and killed sitting in the back seat of the car. and founder of americans for gun safety advocacy group, david french, senior writer for "the national review" and lucy, starty westart y with you. you have your own heartbreaking
story. there is the parkland shooting that left 17 people dead. the march four ow live for our. you've been involved in that. people suggest this is a moment when change can happen in the nation's gun laws but as we watch the nr nra defense get underway is there reason to expect anything different? >> i think this should be a clear -- it should be crystal clear to the american public what the policy agenda is on gun safety with this administration and president trump. the fact that this is the second year in a row that president trump has addressed the nra leadership at their national convention. he's the only president outside of president reagan, you know that has addressed the nra leadership, and let's not let the american people forget that over 30 million dollars, the nra leadership, the gun lobby, paid to get president trump in office. so i think him pandering again to the nra gun lobby leadership
only exposes what their policy agenda is, and it is not for gun safety. >> they would argue that they vote, and in the month, lucy, after the parkland shooting, who's what the "washington post" reported. the national rifle associations political victory fund raised $2.4 million donations in march setting a 21st century record for the group. so you have gun rights activists and supporters, mobilizing, essentially, because they're concerned about the impact that parkland will have on what they see as their second amendment constitutional rights. are you concerned at all that, in fact, the opposite of what you want to happen may actually be true? it may end up hypermobilizing folks at the nra? >> no. i think that we're going to be -- we will see a ground swell of people that are going to vote on this issue in the polls, in the fall. i am convinced of it. i think that we have a whole demographic of people that have
needed to vote now are students. they're getting registered to vote and the number one issue that they're voting on in the fall is gun violence. you know, if our legislators are not willing to be accountable and responsible to they are standing up for themselves. so, yes, i understand that the nra gun lobby feels under threat. they've been exposed now. in the fact that we have legislators, republicans, all around the country that are beginning to want to usher in some common sense resolutions on our existing gun laws. i know that threatens them but they need to be prepared because there will be just volumes of people in this country that will be standing on the right side of reason and making sure that the nra gun lobby, their extremist agenda is exposed and they are going to be voting those legislators out of office that are not caring about the preservation of human lives in this country. >> the other side of argument, matt, people in this country
obviously believe strongly in their right to carry arms. the nra mantra is the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. the guy you just saw speaking in the do mat is stephen wileford, the person hailed as a hero after going after a shooter in a church shooting. but the crowd was told essentially you can't bring your guns. now that is something from the secret service obviously. but then we saw all these tweets from nra members who said, this makes us look like hypocrites, because what we heard from are the parkland students was, okay, it is okay to take a gun into where there is students but it's not okay to take it into an nra convention. what do you make of that concern by members of the nra? >> what the secret service will tell you is it is pretty hard to stop a bad guy with a gun. that rhetoric that they've been using for 30, 40 years is just
ridiculous. in fact, the way to stop gun violence is to keep guns out of the hands of bad people to begin with and the core purpose of the nra's federal and state lobbying over the course of the last four decades has been to stop precisely that, stop efforts to try to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them, criminals and children and people who are unstable. it's true that with 300 million or more guns in private hands in the united states it is going to be difficult -- it is impossible to stop all gun crime. but we can do a lot more and as lucy was noting, the nra has stood in the way for a long time. the politics may be changing. >> it was really interesting, matt, that the nra's base obviously we know has been mobilized at least in terms of the money. the president surprised reporters on air force one by coming back, talking about
wanting to go to this convention, believing that these are all good people. but support for the nra is on the decline. a march 2018 poll that we at nbc and "wall street journal" did. 37% of americans now view the nra positively. 40% see it negatively. this is the first time it's been under water since 1999. how significant do you see that, matt? >> i think it is enormously significant. i've been working on this issue, first in the clinton white house, then in americans for gun safety, now at third way, for almost 20 years. we have never seen a shift in the politics of guns. it has always been true that the nra was more politically potent than any of us on the other side. that may have changed. i think we have hit a tipping point. i think as lucy noted, the kids who mobilized after parkland may have helped change the calculus. but we won't know until
november, and whether that hurts or helps politicians. when we find out though that could really change things in both washington and skate capitals. >> david, i'm sure you have talked to and understand countless members of the nra, leaders of the nra. i have covered countless mass shootings, starting at columbine, going through some things where people said, okay, this time it is going to change when you have a member of congress shot. not just one, not just gabby giffords, but then steve scalise. certainly we heard it after newtown when you see a bunch of grade school kids who are cut down when they are 6 years old. we have heard it now, in a different way, i would argue, at parkland. help us understand what the nra is thinking right now and do you believe that things are changing? do you believe that this poll reflects something lasting by people of america? >> no, i don't think things are changing at all.
in fact, i would say -- >> as we see vice president pence coming out. continue. >> i don't think things are changing at all. i think the more democrats push gun control the lower -- the less the intensity gap between democratic and republican voters. democratic voters have been very motivated to get to the polls in 2018 because of the resistance and because of hostility to president trump. if you put gun control front and center on that agenda, you are not going to be winning over red state, and you're not going to be winning over red state moderate democrats often, and you're going to get some of these republicans who are thinking about not going to the polls. they're going to go to the polls. >> so this is not going to affect republicans negatively in the mid-terms? that's your conclusion? >> i think you'll win the very blue areas by more but you are going to win them anyway. the question is who are you going to win over that you hadn't won before. i think one of the best ways to get republican voters to the polls is to threaten gun rights. i think that's been demonstrated time and time again over the last quarter century.
>> we have to leave it there, david french, lucy, matt, thanks to all of you. we appreciate it. and the president will be speaking at this annual gathering any moment now. he's already spoken three times to reporters today. so what's he going to stay in front of a friendly audience in dallas? we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ (baby crying) ♪ ♪ don't juggle your home life and work life without it. ♪ ♪ and don't forget who you're really working for without it. ♪ ♪
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the role of michael cohen. let's go right to the white house. kelly o'donnell is standing by. kelly, with a does the statement say? >> well, it goes on to a couple of issues. this is a statement from the former mayor of new york. he says this sin tended to clarify the views that he expressed in the past few days. he is saying these are his views, separating himself from what the president knows or has said. first, there's no campaign violation, says the former mayor. the payment was made to resolve a personal and what he says is a false allegation in order to protect the president's family. not the campaign would be a parenthetical. it would have been done in any event whether he was a candidate or not. that's on the issue of when giuliani spoke about the timing. what if it had come out in october referencing something he said on television the last few days. second topic. he says my references to timing were not describing my understanding of the president's knowledge but instead my understanding of these matters. putting it on himself as the president'