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tv   First Look  MSNBC  May 17, 2018 2:00am-3:00am PDT

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tillerson. that's our broadcast for tonight. thank you so much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. this morning a new financial disclosure form is shedding light on president trump's payments to michael cohen for expenses in 2016. the same year cohen paid porn star stormy daniels to stay silent about an alleged affair with donald trump. plus, a new look inside the june 2016 trump tower meeting between donald trump jr., paul manafort, jared kushner and the russians reportedly offering up dirt on hillary clinton. and rudy giuliani weighing in on the russia probe, telling nbc news that the special counsel's office has told trump's legal team that mueller will not indict a sitting president.
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>> good morning, everybody. it is thursday, may 17th. i'm yasmin vossoughian. we begin with a new ethics questions for president trump after disclosing on financial forms that he reimbursed michael cohen for the stormy daniels payment. the disclosure came in a very last footnote on page 45 of the 92 page report. it claims quote, in the interest of transparency while not required to be disclosed as quote reportable liabilities, in 2016 expenses were incurred by one of trump's attorneys michael cohen. it claims that cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and that trump quote fully reimbursed cohen in 2017. however, the government ethics chief disputes that cohen's payment was an expense and therefore not required to be reported. in a letter to deputy aj rod
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rosenste rosenstein, based on information from the president's disclosure the payment made by mr. cohen is required to be reported as a liability. that means the ethics chief believes trump should have disclosed the payment on last year's financial form which he did not. paul ends his letter by telling the deputy a.g. that he's providing him with the president's financial reports from last year and this year because you may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry. former ethics chief tweeted this. this is tantamount to a criminal referral. office of government ethics have effectively reported the president to doj for potentially committing a crime. there's also new reporting on that leak of michael cohen's financial report records. it comes one week after avenatti
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released records of millions of dollars which allegedly flowed into the shell company that cohen used to pay avenatti's client stormy daniels. then a launch into the leak which brings us to the latest reports. he reports in the new yorker that the source of cohen's leaked recorders is a law enforcement official. the official had grown alarmed after being unable to find two important reports on cohen's financial activity in a government database. the official worried that the information was being with held from law enforcement, released the remaining documents. the missing documents are said to be two suspicious activity reports filed by first republic bank to the treasury department. the missing reports detail more than $3 million in previously undisclosed transactions flowing into the shell company which had been used to facilitate the stormy daniels payment. the source says he fairs the contents may be permanently with
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held. avenatti has been sounding the alarm on these suspicious activity reports. he joins "morning joe" later this morning. and new indications that federal authorities are looking into michael cohen's business ties to a south korean aerospace company. a translator between cohen and korea aerospace industries tells the washington post that he was interviewed by the fbi a few weeks ago. he declined to provide details to the paper about the inquiries and said he was unsure whether the agents were part of the probe led by robert mueller. it was reported last week that korea aerospace industries had paid cohen's firm $150,000 last november as it sought a defense contract from the united states government. the company said it paid for legal advice on u.s. accounting procedures. and republican leaders on the senate intel committee say they agree with u.s. intelligence agencies that russia interfered in the 2016 election and that
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moscow favored donald trump in the race. community chairman said in a statement yesterday that he saw no reason to dispute the conclusions made by the intelligence community. his statement is at odds with republican members of the house intelligence committee that do not support the idea that russia thought to help trump win. describing contacts between trump associates and russians as ill advised meetings. president trump was quick to claim vindication when the report came out labeling the russia probe a total witch hunt and calling for an end to the investigation. >> so the new york times has a lengthy report on the fbi's closely held investigation of the trump campaign begun exactly 100 days before the 2016 election. here's the code name, cross fire hurricane. in case you notice it's after a rolling stones lyric. a dozen kurn and government officials and a review of
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documents. it claims that only about five justice department officials knew the full scope of the case at the time. not the dozen or more who might normally be briefed on a major national security case. fearful of leaks, fbi agents kept details from appointees across the street. peter struck, a senior fbi agent explains that justice department officials would find it too quote, tasty to resist sharing. quote, i'm not worried about our side. kept secret that agents were on the trail of george pop dap louse and went to london to interview the australian m a bass door about his claims that michael flynn's contributions. to quote the times, the facts had they surfaced might have devastated the trump campaign. mr. trump's future, national
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security advisor was under investigation as was his campaign chair, one advisor appeared to have russian intelligence contacts. another was suspected of being a russian agent himself. now, one of the authors of that report will be a guest coming up on "morning joe." also the senate judiciary committee opened up the books on the interviews of the president's top campaign officials about the june 2016 trump tower meeting. now, the document shed light on who knew what and when about the controversial summit that stayed secret for more than a year. testimony from russian participants cast more doubt on donald trump jr.'s original claim that the meeting was to discuss russian adoptions. witnesses said he began the meeting by asking for information on hillary clinton. trump jr. was questioned about the e-mail he received before the meeting telling him of quote, russia and its government support for mr. trump, asked if
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he thought that would be problematic, the president's son replied this. i didn't think that listening to someone with information relevant to the fitness and character of a presidential candidate would be an issue. no. it was an argument seconded by president trump's lawyer rudy giuliani last night. watch this. >> remember june of 2016? that's about when i joined the campaign. nobody's going to focus on a russian woman who says that she has false information about hillary, turns out she wants to negotiate sanctions and they throw her out, basically. and then when she wants to meet again they don't meet with her. who -- i wouldn't remember that. i had people coming up to me saying all kinds of things about hillary and i'm willing to believe almost anything about her. when i ran against them they were longing for dirt on me every day. i mean, that's what you do. maybe you shouldn't but you do it. nothing illegal about that. and even if it comes from a russian or a german or an american, it doesn't matter. and they never used it is the main thing.
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never used it. they rejected it if there was collusion with the russians they would have used it. >> dozen it matter? that is the question. joining us from washington, senior writer at roll call, good morning to you. good to talk to you today. let's talk about president trump's disclosure for the first time including his repayment to attorney michael cohen. he has denied this in the past as we know to reporters aboard air force one. what is your take on this disclosure? >> well, i guess the disclosure itself is not a surprise since we knew about it already, but it really does sort of shed some more light perhaps on where this goes from here, particularly since there is this referral that has been made by the office of government ethics saying this should have been disclosed as a loan previously. i think that's got to be one of the other stones that the mueller investigation and maybe some of the investigations on capitol hill will be delving
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into is what exactly was this payment and whether or not it becomes the mueller investigation or the investigation in new york, i guess is the question. >> yeah, and i think you make a really good point there in that it's going to come down to the timing of the disclosure and whether or not he should have held back his disclosure now or it should have been disclosed last year. let's talk now about michael cohen's financial documents and the leaking of those. what do you make of the most recent revelation that this $3 million was not listed? and moving forward what do you think this is going to mean for the investigation into cohen? >> that was a really interesting report in that if in fact these transactions or these transaction reports are missing from a government database or being with held, i guess the question is by whom and for what purpose. for mr. cohen himself obviously it's just more evidence of -- that whatever he is up to is certainly going to be of interest to federal prosecutors and the extent to which he may
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be -- his business dealings may be in trouble and he may end up in financial trouble himself may affect his willingness to talk down the road. >> quickly want to touch on sort of the significant victory over net neutrality yesterday amongst senate democrats who were looking to gain this victory. now the issue would be heading to the house. could we see net neutrality have an impact come november elections? >> democrats sure hope so. obviously the house is not expected to take up the resolution that would basically bring back the obama era net neutrality regulations but chuck schumer, the democrat from new york who's the top democrat in the senate and some other democrats think that this is going to be an issue that is going to drive younger voters to the polls. they often like to talk about how their children and other younger people who they interact with are more interested in
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protecting what supporters call the open internet than they are in a lot of other policy matters that come up even health care in some cases. >> yeah, we haven't heard the democrats talking much about net neutrality so i think it's going to come down to a matter of how they put it out there and translate it to the public to make it important enough for them to vote on it. thanks. good seeing you. >> thank you. and during his commencement address at the virginia military institute yesterday former secretary of state rex tillerson made a thinly veiled rebuke of his former boss president trump. take a listen to this. >> as i reflect upon the state of our american democracy, i observe a growing crisis in ethics and integrity. if our leader seeks to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts then we as american citizens are on a pathway to re-lylinquishing our
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freedom. still ahead, what president trump has to say about kim jong un threatening to pull out of next month's historic summit. plus scott pruitt gets mocked by a democratic senator over security concerns. and a check on your weather when we come back. (vo) new purely fancy feast filets.
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welcome back, everybody. during a round table at the white house on california sanctuary cities president trump had this to say describing some immigrants. >> we have people coming in to the country, or trying to come in, we're stopping a lot of them. but we're taking people out of the country, you wouldn't believe how bad these people are. these aren't people. these are animals. >> okay. so senate minority leader chuck schumer hit back tweeting this, when all of our great, great grandparents came to america they were not animals and these
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people are not either. and california governor brown tweeted quote trump is lying about immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of california. flying in politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. we are not impressed. so during that same round table president trump did not hold back on his opinion of america's neighbors to the south, mexico. watch this. >> mexico does nothing for us. they do nothing for us. mexico talks but they do nothing for us. especially at the border. certainly don't help us much on trade, but especially at the border, they do nothing for us. >> all right. let's get a check on your weather now with bill karins. some more rainy weather here in the northeast. >> yeah, the sun is going to be a hard thing to find. maybe until sunday afternoon, possibly even until monday. so let's get into it.
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we're already watching some pretty steady rain overnight in philadelphia. that's pushing up towards new york city. just hit and miss showers around d.c., south wards to richmond. a little bit steadier if you're heading through west virginia into western maryland. the heaviest rain will be thursday night into tomorrow morning so this is why we have flood watches that have been issued. d.c., baltimore is in the flood watches and the mountainous areas where you're crossing interstate 40 and this is why. this is a pretty incredible amount of rainfall. without really getting thunderstorms or a tropical system, this is 3 to 4 inches of rain from pretty much the pennsylvania line south wards down through richmond including areas around dover to atlantic city. new york city is an inch to two inches. a little less down around raleigh. the best chance of flooding is the nation's capital right through the chesapeake region. rainy weather in florida too.
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it's a flood threat in the mid-atlantic. so for today's forecast, with the clouds and the rain, only in the low 70s from new york to d.c., boston albany north wards you'll get a little bit of sun and a decent beautiful day. temperatures in the 70s. still very hot. san antonio to houston, both of you around 97 today and close to record highs in many areas of the west looking fantastic for anyone traveling to the west coast on this thursday. airport delays obviously with all the low visibilities and the rain today too. >> thanks for that. one more story we've been following michigan state university is paying a hefty price following revelations by the school's larry naser agreeing to a $500 million settlement with 332 of his accusers according to attorneys representing the victims and the university. now a portion of that settlement, 75 million is being set aside in case of future lawsuits filed against msu over nasser. nasser pleaded guilty to
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assaulting victims under the guise of treatment and was sentenced to 40 to 125 years. he was also separately sentenced to 60 years for possession of child pornography. a usa gymnastics and the olympic committee are still facing lawsuits. >> it still doesn't make up for all the damage done to those girls. still ahead, james harden and company tried to even things up in the western conference finals and imagine this, getting hit by 102-mile-per-hour baseball, and then being able to laugh it off. we'll show you the pitcher who did just that in sports, next. but in very different ways and pampers gives all of them our driest best fitting diaper. pampers cruisers with three-way fit. they adapt at the waist, legs and bottom with up to twelve hours of protection for all the freedom to move their way in pampers cruisers
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because it's my vision. preservision. try areds 2 + multivitamin. welcome back. time now for sports starting with the nba western conference finals between the rockets and the warriors. the the warriors took game one in houston taking home court advantage in series with it but the rocks found their groove last night with james harden recording a double double with 27 points off the bench from eric gordon. durant had a game high of 28. starters were held under 10 points. the rockets take game two with a 127-105 win. game three is set for sunday in oakland. meanwhile the nba revealed its awards finalists including contenders for most valuable player. it comes to to harden, lebron james and anthony davis.
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meanwhile, an agreement to become the next head coach of the milwaukee bucks. the former coach beat out two spurs assistants and the bucks interim coach for the job. he will take over a team that includes young stars. the bucks were eliminated by boston in 7 game series in the opening round of the nba playoffs. we all remember that. and switching gears now to the nhl and the golden knights and the jets faced off in game three of the western conference finals hoping to take a 2-1 series lead in this one and the golden knights would be the victor getting out to an early one to 1-0 lead there within the first minute of the game, thanks to jonathan who would have two goals in the 4-2 win. 33 saves on the night. the series continues with game four on friday in las vegas. and turning now to major league
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baseball where in seattle rangers pitcher takes a 102-mile-per-hour comebacker off the gut during yesterday's matchup against the mariners. he recovers throwing to first for the out and goes on to pitch into the eighth inning giving up no runs and allowing just for four hits. after the 5-1 victory he addressed the play while speaking to reporters through an interpreter saying quote, i have a big belly so i can handle it. i think he's the spry agent. >> i didn't know they were going to come to me at that moment showing my face. >> look at this one more time. right off the gut. he absorbs it. he throws it to first like a true professional and he is about 44. i think he's exactly 44 years old so pretty impressive from the seasoned pitcher, should we say. >> i bet you he piwishes he caut that thing. you think your six pack can take it? >> i don't think so.
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no six pack here. today marks exactly one year since bob mueller was appointed social counsel of the russia probe. plus kim jong un is threatening to cancel the upcoming summit with president trump. is north korea just posturing? those stories and more coming up next. ( ♪ ) it's the details that make the difference. only botox® cosmetic is fda approved to temporarily make frown lines, crow's feet and forehead lines look better. it's a quick 10 minute treatment given by a doctor to reduce those lines. ask your doctor about botox® cosmetic by name. the effects of botox® cosmetic, may spread hours to weeks after injection, causing serious symptoms. alert your doctor right away as difficulty swallowing, speaking, breathing, eye problems, or muscle weakness can be a sign of a life-threatening condition. do not receive botox® cosmetic if you have a skin infection. side effects may include allergic reactions, injection site pain, headache, eyelid and eyebrow drooping and eyelid swelling.
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welcome back, everybody. i'm yasmin vossoughian. it is the bottom of the hour. let's start with the morning's top stories. speaking on behalf of donald
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trump's legal team ruedy giuliai says they cannot bring charges against the president. they know they don't have that power, so their function is to write a report. we would like to be the first -- the fairest report possible but even if it isn't we're prepared to rebut it in great detail so we'd like them to do it giuliani told the washington post that mueller was quote, coy, when discussing an indictment quote, he didn't seem to want to give the answer. one of his assistants broke in said well, of course we're bound by justice department policies. mueller looked at the assistant to say don't interrupt me. giuliani said they confirmed they would not indict in a call a day or two later. on fox news last night giuliani said he would not give much credence to a negative report from bob mueller. >> there's no reason for this investigation. there wagner wnever was a good
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for it in the first place. i'm still hopeful when it comes down to it they're not going to impair their reputations with a bogus report. we're ready to rip it apart and we're ready to rip them apart. >> here's the question. does negative to them mean unfair? all right. mueller has also subpoenaed a social media expert who worked for roger stone. this special counsel issued two subpoenas to lawyers representing jason sullivan, hired to work for the super pack during the election. he worked on the trump campaign serving as chief strategist directly to roger stone. nbc news confirms through public filings that sullivan was paid in july and august of 2016 for a combined $3,000 by stone's pack committee to restore america's greatness. sullivan's attorney says his client has not been accused of any wrong doing and has not
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spoken to anyone on mueller's team. subpoenas subjest mueller is looking to see if stone had direct knowledge and sent to wikileaks founder assange who subsequently published it. a spokes person declined to comment. and the mueller investigation moves closer to the one year mark president trump appears to be trying to shift the conversation of obstruction of justice elsewhere. during a special round table discussion the president addressed the controversy surrounding oakland's mayor warning the public of raids by immigration agents. take a listen. >> i mean, you talk about obstruction of justice. i would recommend that you look into obstruction of justice for the mayor of oakland, california. she advises thousand people they're told get out of here, the law enforcement is coming and you worked on that long and hard. and you got there and there were
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very few people there. to me that's obstruction of justice, and perhaps the department of justice can look into that with respect to the mayor because it's a big deal out there and a lot of people are very angry about what happened. >> just to recap that, that was the president of the united states calling on the attorney general jeff sessions to have the justice department investigate oakland's mayor for obstruction of justice. according to the white house reporter in the room sessions sat stone faced as the president made those remarks. >> joining us now from washington, political reporter, mike, good morning to you. thanks for joining us this morning. a big anniversary, i guess. we are now officially at one year into the mueller investigation. seems like it was yesterday when it first started. >> that's right. >> do you think that president trump's strategy now subsequently rudy giuliani's strategy is sort of challenging the legitimacy of the special counsel is actually working in
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their favor? >> well, iet it's hard to say. it's not affecting robert mueller. everyone says he's completely unphased by these political theatrics coming out of the white house coming to him. when you talk to voters outside of washington, there's still a lot of uncertainty about what it is that mueller is doing, the timeline, a bit of fatigue over what's happening here. but you're right to call attention to the strategy of delegitimizing the mueller probe. at first there was talk about complete cooperation. we saw them providing a lot of the documents that the team was requesting. every public utter rait utter rd indicate the president. i think the turning point has been the raid of michael cohen's office, that has affected the way the president is thinking about it and tweeting about it. and the queues that we're hearing both from the president
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and his twitter messages and what you just heard from rudy giuliani is certainly playing a role in his base. we have seen public polling dip a bit in terms of whether people still have confidence in the mueller probe. it is a majority. 64% down from 60%. >> when you're saying you're speaking of voters outside of washington as to what they feel is the legitimacy of the mueller probe, are they more coming from his base or who are you speaking to exactly? >> well, it's interesting because i've been out in iowa and some of the states where we're having competitive senate elections and the most common reaction you get from voters is i just don't know. they're more interested in some of the policy debates that are coming out of washington, but it was interesting my colleague was just at a focus group that took place in wisconsin and what they found was across the board, both trump voters and clinton voters saying politically it would be a mistake on the part of the president to fire robert mueller but you did hear from those trump voters eng coeing t-coein
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hear from the white house. that this is a deep state conspiracy to delegitimize the president. >> not surprising to hear that split there. good seeing you. thanks, mike. all right. so president trump yesterday responded to the news that north korea may be pulling out of his summit with kim jong un. watch this. >> we haven't been notified at all. we'll have to see. we haven't seen anything. we haven't heard anything. we will see what happens. we'll see what happens. we'll see. time will tell. >> not a lot said there. so among the many reasons cited for possibly pulling out of the summit, north korea singled out trump's national security advisor john bolton who said over the weekend the same strategy used in the nuclear
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negotiations in libya should be used in the dprk. yesterday bolton discussed the current state of the summit. >> the question is whether this really is a sign that -- that they're not taking our objective of denuclearization seriously. if they're ready to meet, we're ready to meet. if they're not ready to meet, then we won't meet. >> do you feel as though it's still going to come off? >> yeah, i think that's -- those are the odds. you know, we're trying to be both optimistic and realistic at the same time but we're not going to back away from the objective of that meeting which is complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of north korea. >> so multiple republican senators also say that during a lunch earlier this week trump said he would stay in singapore for as long as needed to get a deal done. secretary of state mike pompeo said it's set for a one-day summit but it could be extended. let's talk about this.
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cal perry, good morning to you. let's talk about the overall view regarding the trump/kim summit here. is this just north korea posturing here, trying to gain an upper hand? do they think this was planned from from the get-go, that krch was planning to sort of drop this bomb from the very beginning? and is bolton overly confident? is there a view this is still going to happen? >> yeah, i think for european leaders it was a hold your breath day. i think there was relief that the president was so kind of noncommittal about what the north koreans had sort of threatened. we finally did hear from the chinese. the chinese says the u.s. needs to cherish this moment. that came from the foreign minister of china who is in france. i think that plays well among foreign leaders who look at this and think they've made incredible gains. let's not let those gains slip. i think you'll hear more and more from the chinese as this plays out. >> let's talk more about that.
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especially with regards to the intense negotiations right now with regard to trade between u.s. and china. how is that going to play in? >> we'll be following this very closely. the vice of china is meeting today. this is the most recent negotiations on trade and of course the wild card here is the u.s. president and what he's likely to say. at times he's talked about punishing china $150 billion worth of sanctions and then a couple of days later he wants to bring chinese tech companies sort of back online. so that's sort of overhanging the entire north korea story. when you look at china, china could be the thing that could make the deal for north when it comes to sanctions and military threats the u.s. is the center of that sort of universe. when it comes to economic relief for north korea, china is the center of that universe, 90% of north korean trade runs through china. and listen, as luis just said he just translated the u.s.
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president, overhanging all of this is not the unpredictability of the north korean leader it's the unpredictability of donald trump. does it offend china or north korea? it's exhausting. >> a little bit. a little bit exhausting, cal. thanks. good seeing you. >> thanks, guys. embattled epa chief scott pruitt finds himself in the hot suit as he goes before lawmakers amid his spending scandals. the especially critical takedown one lawmaker had for him, plus bill karins back with another check on your forecast when we come back.
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live, learn and get luvs welcome back, everybody. embattled epa administrator scott pruitt is facing fresh scrutiny. appearing before the senate appropriations committee yesterday to discuss the agency's budget vice chair took some swift jabs at pruitt over his use of first class travel
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and a 24/7 security detail over alleged threats to his safety. >> what a silly reason you had to fly first class. because of a danger to you unless you flew first class. nobody even know who you are. and you go in there, oh, somebody might criticize you, you've got security people that would never seen before. >> nobody knows who you are. let's get a check on your weather now with bill karins. bill, no one knows who we are either so we can -- we understand. >> that's just fine. we'll leave it that way. the flood risk goes up for the mid-atlantic states as we go throughout the next 48 hours. all because this big area of high pressure is pumping the moisture off the atlantic and we had some tropical motion in florida. so flood watches issued for morgantown to philadelphia, atlantic city, washington, d.c. to harrisburg, and then a little slice here in the mountainous areas of the appalachians from
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the extreme northern portion of south carolina right through the area. so here's the timing of this mess. as we go through the morning hit and miss showers and storms d.c. to new york. also some showers and thunderstorms in the carolinas and hit and miss in florida. as we go through the afternoon, new york city actually dries out, philadelphia looks like you'll dry out too this afternoon. much of the precipitation will be around richmond. hit and miss though. atlanta could dodge some thunderstorms and that could mean some airport delays. this is when we start to see the heavy rain threat. overnight tonight you'll wake up tomorrow morning and looks like a really rough morning around d.c. that's torrential rain. maybe some thunderstorms with us up to baltimore. that's at 8:00 a.m. by the time we go through the afternoon, that kind of weakens but another round comes up from the south. notice philadelphia north ward, doesn't look like a ton of heavy rain on friday. the worth of it is philly south ward to the richmond area and norfolk and virginia beach.
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then saturday a lot of that kicks up to the north. by sunday a lot of areas will finally clear out so if people are wondering when they can get outdoors again, you see that big yellow bright thing in the sky. >> what is that? that is weird. >> maybe sunday afternoon. >> looking ahead to sunday. still ahead, lawmakers look to deal a blow to the fcc in the battle over net neutrality. plus, the other stories driving your business day, coming up.
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welcome back. let's turn to business in a somewhat symbolic move the senate voted yesterday to restore obama era open internet moves in a rule that upset the current fcc chair whose new rules are set to take place next month. as this legislation head to the house what's the likelihood that net neutrality is in fact reinstated? >> good morning. yes, so indeed it was a very narrow victory for the senate and they won by 52-47 with collie republicans also voting in support of the resolution. as you rightly point out it's unlikely to be long lasting because a similar resolution isn't expected to pass in the house where republicans do have a majority. but some republicans are saying that perhaps a new law should be introduced that tones down some of the 2015 regulations and doesn't repeal it altogether. but for the time being it does look as though the repeal for net neutrality laws will go
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ahead according to the fcc. speaking of laws, the ceo of bumblebee has been filed with criminal charges into price fixing. a jury has said that he has conspired with others in the industry to eliminate competition in the area particularly in setting prices for canned tuna and the u.s. has been investigating this price fixing charges amongst star kis and chicken of the sea for more than two years now. bumblebee has agreed to pay a fine of $25 million. >> ford is resuming production of its f-150, they're going to extreme measures. what can you tell us about it? >> yes, absolutely, they've been trying to get the production back again because the truck is one of their best selling trucks.
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nch worp nch. political reporter for axios alexi mccammen joining us from washington. talk to us about axios' one big thing. >> a look inside the president's greatest fear. president trump is someone who likes to feign confidence, especially in small groups. he shows this self-assurance in any decision he's making. even if he hasn't made a decision like that before. there's one decision, north korea and the situation happening with north korea and trying to denuclearize them and kim jong un that is making the president afraid. and it's sort of showing an area in which he is not extremely confident in the decision and especially with something that is more visceral to him because of the threat of nuclear war. >> is there more to that?
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why do people feel like the north korea situation is testing this confidence that seems unflappable until now. >> i think the nuclear war aspect is something that is very tangible to him and instilling fear in him. it makes him feel more visceral about the situation. sources who reveal this information to my colleague jonathan swan, didn't give him a compelling reason about north korea and the middle east crisis and potential trade war with china is making him fear this way. he was a child of the 1950s and the other theory is the things like a trade war with china or the middle east crisis are a little more abstract to the president. in the way that the threat of nuclear war is not. >> why would they be more abstract versus north korea? >> i would say that one thing that's maybe changing his mind with north korea is the way that kim jong un has been pushing back against him. the president is someone who likes to be unpredictable and push back against people and
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he's seeing that reciprocated in kim jong un in a way that he's maybe feeling more threatened and is meeting his match in the dictate fund-raiser north korea in a way he's not necessarily seeing in the middle east or the trade war with china. >> i want to talk about new poll numbers out that reveal that president trump is getting higher approval ratings for some of his personal traits. break some of those numbers down for us. >> sure. so 41% of people think the president stands up for what he believes in. and i think that's reflected in the way that he talks and even what we were talking about now. this confidence he exuding in small groups and even large groups. 35% think that he gets things done. and can get things done and that was we sort of saw an uptick in those approval numbers with the passage of the gop tax plan. and other people you know think he is tough enough for the job. something like 31% of folks think he's tough enough to do this job. i think all of those sort of reflect not only bright spots in his overall polling, we usually
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only hear about the overall approval rating. but also reflects what we were talking about, which is this confidence he exudes and how it's relating to the positive traits that people attribute to him. >> we talked about the bright spots. one of the president's scores that remains lower than all of the others is whether or not he's honest and trustworthy. do you think that we're seeing a real trust gap with the public's view of the president that will persist? >> the numbers don't lie. it was something like 13% of people who only think that the president is honest and trustworthy. that is abysmal. i think the interesting thing here is the way that the president has created this transparent direct line of communication between himself and his supporters through social media. through his impromptu press conferences and the way that he speaks as if he is telling it like it is. but at the same time americans across the board overwhelmingly don't necessarily believe the things that he's saying. the "washington post" had a
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great analysis of a few months ago, he makes five to six misleading or false claims every single day. >> alexi mccammen. we're going to be reading axios a.m. in just a little bit. you, too, can sign up for the newsletter at axios.com. that does it for us on this thursday, i'm yasmin vossoughian, alongside louis burgdorf, "morning joe" starts right now. it's just a total deflection this whole thing with russia, they hacked, they probably have 33,000 emails, i hope they do. i will tell you this. russia, if you're listening -- >> i don't know who hacked. you tell me who hacked. >> it could be somebody sitting on their bed who is 400 pounds. >> secretary clinton has conceded to donald trump. >> why would the c.i.a. put out the story that the russian wanted you to elect. >> i'm not sure they put it out. i think the democrats are putting it out. how many times do i have to answer this question -- russia is a ruse. >> the fbi as part of our
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counterintelligence mission is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. >> the president informed comey that he's been terminated and removed from office. >> 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. it's an excuse. >> the justice department has just announced a special counsel to lead a new investigation into russian influence in the election. >> oh yeah. it's been a long and winding road to that final sound bite exactly one year ago today. the appointment of a special counsel. now that road is taking a straight line the people surrounding the president. and this morning, we have new details on a number of the big players, including michael cohen, don jr., rudy giuliani, who gave me my wish, who is offering a new defense against claims of presidential collusion. he went on tv yesterday. good morning, everyone, welcome to morning joe, it is

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