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tv   MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle  MSNBC  May 30, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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mr. trump was refusing to take his calls. when they met the president berated sessions for his decision to recuse himself from the russia investigation and told himself he should reverse his decision but sessions refused. >> the sessions recusal set the president off. it's the original sin to the president. >> the president continues to obsess over the narrative calling the investigation a witch hunt. now this term that has no fact behind it spy gate. >> how do you like the fact they had people infiltrating our campaign? can you imagine? >> when the president says spy gate, there was no spy inserted into the campaign. if you seen any evidence of that? >> i have not. >> rosanne barr back on twitter apologizing again for referring to one of former president obama's advisers as an ape on twitter. >> over night she returned to twitter sending out several apologies. don't feel sorry for me.
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today my words caused hundreds of hard working people to lose their jobs. and later explaining in a since deleted tweet it was 2:00 in the morning and i was ambien tweeting writing this about valerie variety. muslim brotherhood and planet of the apes had a baby. equals vj. >> i'm fine. i'm worried about all the people out there who don't have a circle of friends and followers who come to their defense. >> roseanne is spinning. >> and she blamed ambien. who knew one of the side effects of oom booen was racism. >> the death toll in puerto rico is 70 times higher than the government reported. this morning mounting anger in puerto rico over the government's response to hurricane maria. harvard researchers estimating at least 4600 people died because of little access to power or medical care during the storm's aftermath. that's dramatically higher than the official count of 64.
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>> we want the real number to come out. we had a number that was sub par, and rerecognize it. >> people having the bodies in their houses for weeks at a time not knowing some of them were trapped. >> 4600 people is a lot of numbers. for them not to know this immediately is very concerning. like i said, hurricane season is right here. what have they done or what are they going to do? >> we got a lot to cover in this hour. starting with president trump's personal lawyer and fixer michael cohen. back in federal court in new york city this hour. and according to "the washington post," prosecuters could receive a million that is one million, one million files from three of cohen's cell phones today. part of a trove of materials seized in raids last month. federal prosecuters along with attorneys for cohen, the president, and the trump
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organization are in court today. five sets of lawyers in total to learn the status of hundreds of thousands of documents taken from cohen's office, apartment, and hotel where he was living. in addition to all of this, more intrigue at the hearing. porn star stormy daniels's lawyer michael avenatti, he'll be attending. joining me live outside the courthouse legal analyst danny cevallos. i always say this. lawyers, they won the election. what exactly is happening today? >> reporter: there are two major things going on here today. first, it's a status conference. the judge wants to know what documents have been provided to the special master, and what documents the special master is prepared to give back to the government as nonprivileged. just so we understand, the judge appointed a special master, former judge herself barbara jones as a sort of neutral third party to settle whether or not, in fact, michael cohen has a
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legitimate climb of privilege in the seized documents. if he does have a claim of privilege as an attorney or otherwise receiving legal advice, then he has an argument that it shouldn't be disclosed to the government and the government can't use it against him. since there's no way for the parties to resolve this, the judge appointed a neutral third party, barbara jones. the second element today is the judge is expected to address michael avenatti's request to be admitted for the specific event. and that will be an interesting element as well today. >> danny, today was a reminder that i would like you to call me the special master from now on. i think it's the greatest title of all time. talk me through a million files. to a jersey girl like me, that sounds like a massive number. is it not? >> reporter: in the modern white collar case with the development of the digital file, it's not
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that unusual for a case to involve terra bytes worth of files. you're not going to see that in the run of the mill street drug case but maybe in a high level bribery case or corruption case. in that sense, it's not unusual. the government seized a large number of devices and documents and things from michael kocohen office and home. it's not that surprising. however, that is a lot of documents for the special master to go through and for either party to go through. and that's why this entire process is expected to take a long time. there's going to be a rolling review as documents come in, special master will review them, and then she'll release the nonprivileged ones to the government. while this many documents is not your normal run of the mill case, it's not unprecedented in a white collar case such as this. >> i'm so conflicted. as much as i'd like to be the special master, i would not like to go through a million of michael cohen's documents.
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danny, thank you. we'll check in with you as the story unfolds. we have to turn to a different attorney. president trump's own attorney general could be the next key witness in robert mueller's obstruction of justice investigation. new york times reporting mr. trump demanded jeff sessions reverse his recusal from the russia probe. the times reports it happened after sessions flew to mar-a-lago in march of 2017 because trump refused to take his calls for two days over the recusal. trump had, quote, told aides he needed a loyalist overseeing the inquiry, berated mr. sessions and told him he should reverse his decision in unusual and potentially inappropriate question. trump slammed sessions repeatedly over the recusal and said sessions should have told him he was going to do so before he took the job as attorney general so he could have picked somebody else. trump tweeted this morning in part, i wish i did. joining me now, ellie hoenig,
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former u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. president trump is all about loyalty. he also has the right to choose his own attorney general. is the issue here if he bounced it isn't because jeff sessions isn't doing his job. he's killing it in terms of the immigration agenda. the issue is mueller. >> it's an interesting development that comes down to loyalty. sessions was sort of the ultimate trump loyalist. >> loved him. >> and it's clear that's why trump chose him. and there's nothing necessarily wrong with the president choosing something to be attorney general who he has a prior relationship with. >> you should pick somebody you like. >> absolutely, but once that person is attorney general, the president has to let that person do their job, and if a recusal is president, so be it. wherever the facts and evidence leads, that's where it should do. this is trump's problem with sessions. trump picked sessions to be
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loyal and sessions stepped aside and let real straight shooters like rosenstein and mueller run the case. and now trump is seeing where it's leading. he's lashing out and been lashing out and demeaning jeff sessions publicly. >> if trump were to fire jeff sessions. a year and a half ago sessions said i'll leave if you want me to leave. fire me, and trump didn't. if he were to fire jeff sessions is that where it gets hairy in terms of obstruction? >> that would lead us into a crisis moment. he's already fired comey. >> we've said that before. this could be a crisis moment. yes. >> and as you said, there's a new angle to the obstruction case. we appear to have trump's role in crafting this misleading statement that his son put out after the mysterious meeting in the hotel with the russian emissaries. now you have this piece, him trying to belittle, persuade, get sessions to unrecuse
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himself, which isn't really a thing in the law, but you have that. and the big question i think now is will sessions cooperate will the investigation? you could be looking at a situation where you have an attorney general who is cooperating with the mueller team against the president. and that could well happen. i think there's questions about will it and could it but it's a possibility. >> wow. that would be -- i mean, remember, jeff sessions was with president trump from the beginning, but he also had a life before trump. he was a member of the government for years and years. it's not like he's a trump loyalist who sort of came from nowhere. it will be interesting to see how it plays out. seeing something else play out. rosanne barr fired from her own show on abc. that's not keeping her quiet. we're looking at her racist tweet, her apology and her history of offensive remarks. first, here's a throwback to roseanne's character back in
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1994. >> i didn't raise you to be some little bigot. >> i just don't want to kiss her. >> hey, black people are just like us. they're every bit as good as us, and any people who don't think so is a bunch of banjo picking, cousin dating, embarrassments to respectable white trash like us. ohhh. ooh ohh here we go, here we go. you got cut off there, what were you saying? oooo. oh no no. maybe that geico has been proudly serving the military for over 75 years? is that what you wanted to say? mhmmm. i have to say, you seemed a lot chattier on tv. geico. proudly serving the military for over 75 years. you ok back there, buddy?
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welcome back. this morning hundreds of
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staffers and crew members are out of a job thanks to one person's tweet. rosanne barr's revival of her hit 80s and 90s sitcom was cancelled abruptly by abc following the star's racist bigoted, disgusting tweet about a former adviser for barack obama. she's spent the last 15 hours moving back and forth apologizing, part of an hour long rant on the prescription sleep medication ambien. this is far from the first of her comments. let's look at her history of tweets and comments. the most recent came during a flurry of tweets criticizing chelsea clinton and calling george soro is nazi. barr as deleted the tweet comparing valerie jarrett to the muslim brotherhood plus planet of the apes. she asked followers not to
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defend her. she's also been retweeting twitter users' analysis of jarrett's complexion insisting she's not actually black and rumors implying abc entertainment president called michelle obama before announcing the cancellation of barr's show. and it is not the first time she has compared a black woman to a prima primate. in 2013 she called susan rice a man with ape genitalia. that tweet carried no analogy. during the excuse me -- that tweet came with no apology. during the 2016 campaign she called hillary clinton aide a nazi adding that clinton herself novembers nazis who would sell nuclear weapons to hamas. barr has been a proponent of conspiracy theories from an internet myth that culminated
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for a man firing a gun to saying 9/11 was an inside job. to implying that cold war mind control experiments by the government, they're still happening today. and before 2011 she was highly critical of israel, calling it a nazi state, telling the huffing ton post the blockade of gaza needed to end and the israeli settlements in the territory were illegal. switching positions in recent years saying a nuclear device should be dropped on the university of california davis after the university supported the boycott divest sanction movement. doesn't make much sense. joining me now ted johnson. ted, first let's go through rosanne barr obviously has a controversial history, and it completely makes sense why abc or any network would realize there's a huge audience out there that doesn't necessarily
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want entertainment programming that's only bow ftox beauties a malibu mansions. that makes sense, they want a different picture. does it make sense for abc to choose someone with such a controversial past? >> that's what you question in the light of abc cancelling the show. from the start it wasn't like roseanne's controversial comments, her outlandish comments were in any way a secret. and when the show launched and was a hit for the network, a lot of people were bringing up some of these past statements. abc also had to deal with this when the original roseanne was on. remember, back in 1990 she gave this rendition of the national anthem at a san diego padres game, and she ended it by grabbing her crotch. at that point it drew a lot of scorn from conservatives, and even president george h.w. bush at the time called it disgraceful. i think the network had to have
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gone into this knowing there was a degree of risk that roseanne now with a twitter feed could certainly give them a lot of headache. >> let's talk about freedom of speech. people keep talking about the importance of freedom of speech. what i could say if i were unemployed on the side of a road is very different. if i walked into the nbc, shaved my head and was cursing at the camera, that would not adhere to nbc values and principles, and they would say you're not going to jail, but you're not going to work here anymore, and given what she said isn't it completely fair and within abc's rights, especially for their respect to other employees to say no thank you? your actions don't reflect our values? >> sure thing. yeah. i mean, that often gets lost. i think sometimes people equate free speech with the first amendment. the first amendment protects speech from the government, from
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the government imposing any kind of conditions on freedom of speech. it doesn't prevent a private corporation from hiring someone or getting in business with someone and saying listen, these are the set of conditions. these are the set of values that you have to adhere to, and if you cross that line, there are going to be consequences. >> okay. the next image we're going to show some, me included, will find offensive. it's a photo shoot from a satirical jewish magazine knit it shows roseanne dressed as hitler. that's not the outrageous part. the thing many people take issue with are the burnt cookies. so one makes the argument this is satire. you know, it's funny. and at the same time rosanne barr is saying last night or her tweet yesterday was because she took ambien. ambien might make you a little racy. comedy is racy, but but ambien
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doesn't make you racist, and where's the line? this is a woman who expects to have a television show on network tv. >> i think clearly you said the line is racism. you don't -- this is not a new phenomenon. you can go back to the 1980s. there is a cbs sports figure, jimmy the greek who made racist remarks and cbs, i think a couple days later fired him off a popular nfl sports show. you can go back to that time. this isn't a symptom of the age that we live in. no. i think corporations have been very sensitive to this for quite a long period of time. and i should also add that today the maker of ambien really pushed back and made that remark, that, hey, racism is not a side effect of taking our medication. >> i actually have that quote. i want to share that. the maker of ambien said in their statement people of all races, religions, and
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nationalities work at sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. while all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any of of their medications. the company says it right there. quick before we go, what do you think will be the next move for rosanne barr while it's not at abc. is there going to be a media outlet in the climate to say bring your show here? think about the people who lost their jobs. >> i can't see another media outlet at this time picking up her show. i could see abc trying to spin off other characters because the show was a hit. as for "roseanne," i think we're already kind of seeing the ground work being laid in her twitter feed today where she's being apologetic but also retweeting statements that she's kind of a victim here. and i could see her kind of
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drawing on that to maybe be picked up by some kind of a conservative media outlet and up start outlet that maybe has another roseanne talk show or something like that. so i wouldn't be at all surprised. in this media age -- >> i have to call the people at webster's. we need a new definition of conservative. what rosanne barr said yesterday and in the past is the opposite of what i think we think conservative means. ted, thank you for joining me today. i appreciate it. when we come back, we'll fact check president trump. he told several lies. president of the united states lied at his rally last night on important topics that affect your daily life. wages, jobs, immigration. are they important to you? they're important to me. the president lied about them. they're going to tell you what's really going on.
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i support the affordable care act, and voted against all trump's attempts to repeal it. but we need to do more. i believe in universal health care. in a public health option to compete with private insurance companies. and expanding medicare to everyone over 55. and i believe medicare must be empowered to negotiate the price of drugs.
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california values senator dianne feinstein welcome back. president trump ramping up the rhetoric on immigration as he stumps for the midterm elections. during a campaign rally in nashville for a republican congresswoman marsha black burn running for bob corker's seat,
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he told the crowd they need to turn out for the midterms or risk the safety of the nation. he defended his use of the word animals to describe gang members. >> i have to listen to pelosi and these people saying we have to respect them. they're human beings. they're not human beings. they're not human beings. and this is why we call the blood thirsty ms-13 gang members the name i used last week. what was the name? >> president trump used the word animals. i'm going to use the word liar. he was in his element at that rally. and he lied to the people in that arena and to america several times. so for fact's sake, let's clear up a few things. he's what the president of the united states said about job creation. >> if we would have said that before the election, that i'm going to create 3 .3 million new jobs, we would never have
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survived the onslaught from the fake news. they wouldn't have accepted it. they would have said there's no way you can do that. >> it was very possible his claim would have been accepted because there were 3.9 million jobs created in the 18 months before the day president trump was elected. next up, president trump's comments on wages. >> wages. for the first time in many, many years, are finally going up. wages are going up. wages going up, and they're going up fast. >> no, sir, they're not going up. they are going up making you a liar. according to bureau of labor and statistics, wages started increasing by more than 2 % a year back in 2014. al bee it slow, too slow for many of us, and now to trump's comments about boarding crossings. >> we're not going to let what happened over the last long period of time, it's been going on for a long time.
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we have borders down 40 %. it's tough because our economy is doing so well, more people try to get in. >> according to new york times border crossings were down only about 18% in 2017 and were actually up 2% this past april. president trump also brought up the border wall with mexico. >> we need a wall. we're going to get the wall. we've already started doing it. >> we've started that wall. we have 1 .6 billion for the wall. we started the wall. in the end mexico's going to pay for the wall. i'm just telling you. >> it is true. $1.6 billion has been approved for the wall. but right now only prototypes are being tested and there has not been any actual construction and ps, mexico's president tweeted last night, quote, mexico will never pay for the wall, not now, not ever. sincerely mexico. all of us. there's a lot of fact checking today about one of trump's
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statements about african american voters. please listen in to what he said. >> african americans vote for democrats for the most part. you know, vast majority. they've been doing it for over 100 years. >> hm. well, the 15th amendment gave african american men the right to vote, states and cities used a variety of tactics to keep them from actually going to the polls. the voting rights act of 1965 not 100 years ago changed all of that ensuring no government would be able to impede anyone from voting because of race. that, of course, was 63 years ago. finally, president trump said the nation's standing in the world has increased. >> our country is respected again all over the world. we're not making apologies. we're not making excuses. we're respected again as a country. >> brother, please. in fact, a report out last year
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from pew research found the global view of the united states has gone down since president trump was elected. i want to bring in founder and editor of the weekly standard. bill, i get it. this is classic trump and the fact checking machine is working overdrive today. busting all of these lies he told, but where is the republican party? main steam republicans who watch that and listen to it? there's no fake news media here. these are straight up lies. the president of the united states told the american people. where's paul ryan and mitch mcconnell? >> that's a good question. i think things are beginning to break. i've been extremely disappointed the republican party has rationalized donald trump, so many elected officials and others, but i think trey gowdy last night saying the fbi investigation is reasonable that was launched in 20 16 is a big moment. dowdy is a republican conservative, kind of a hero of
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republicans. he led the benghazi investigation. for him to come out and say that, he's well respected among the house republicans. he can't be dismissed as someone who is a liberal republican who doesn't like trump. i've been talking to businessmen recently. i think on trade, they're rattled now by trump's policy. he's mexico. you fact checked it. when you take a look, mexico has an election coming up. the leading candidate is someone, a populist who is benefitting from mexicans unhappy. being attacked constantly by trump. trump could well cause a much more hostile mexican government to come into being in mexico than we've had in the recent last couple of decades. that's a real consequence. that's not just lying, hate to say just lying but that's not just misleading the american people and getting something wrong. it's damaging our national interests. i think people are sensing that. i think foreign policy types in the republican party. i think it's a little bit
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finally of a break among parts of the republican party from trump. >> what rattles a trump voter? put politics aside. many people voted for president trump because they wanted something else. when i just went over some of the lies, when he's talking about the beautiful economy, we know that business sentiment is up. consumer confidence is up. but preaching about wages, wages continue to lag. we gave this massive corporate tax cut, and very few companies have actually put forth wages and hiring programs. if he causes a trade war and you see soybean farmers lose their biggest customer which is china, china ain't coming back. they're going to buy the soybeans from south america indefinitely. when does the trump voter start to realize the lie? >> think about half the trump voters bought in. they want to believe in trump, and it's going to be a big shock in the real world. about half the trump voters were reluctant voters.
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they somewhat approve of him, not strongly. for them the moment of prove is november 7 november 7th, 2018, when it's not about pushing back against people like you. people like me, obviously. it's about what do you want going forward? at this point they have to face the question are you comfortable with trump for another four years? maybe we'll make it through the four years. maybe the lies and everything else, we'll have a decent economy, no foreign policy disasters. maybe we'll make it through the four years without a disaster to the country. are you comfortable with another four years? i think it's unrealistic to expect too many trump voters to jump ship in the next few moments. the moment they pivot is after election day this year when it's a question about the future. that's why people like me are so concerned and trying to lead the groundwork for a republican challenge to trump. if you care about the republican
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party, and think it's good for the country to have two good healthy political parties, it's good to challenge trump on the republican side. >> bill, thank you so much. before we go to break, president trump broke his silence on rosanne barr's cancellation. bob iger of abc called valerie jarrett to let her know abc does not tolerate comments like those made by rosanne barr. gee, he never called president trump to apologize for the horrible statements made about me on abc. maybe i just didn't get the call. the president of the united states with a tweet going after bob iger. he's made no comment about rosanne barr and her racist tweet yesterday or in the past. he's commented on collin kaepernick and others taking a knee. he's never made a comment about rosanne barr grabbing her
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private parts and spitting on the ground after singing the national anthem. hurricane maria killed twice as many people than hurricane ka tria. the official death toll less. we'll have a live report from puerto rico where people are still without power as this year's hurricane season is just beginning. man 1: this is my body of proof. woman 1: proof of less joint pain... woman 2: ...and clearer skin. woman 3: this is my body of proof. man 2: proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis... woman 4: ...with humira. woman 5: humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further irreversible joint damage, and clear skin in many adults. humira is the #1 prescribed biologic for psoriatic arthritis. avo: humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure.
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one picky customer shouldn't take all your time. need something printed? the business advisors at office depot can assist with exactly what your business needs to grow. get your coupon for 20% off services, technology and more at office depot and officedepot.com. a shocking new report reveals the death toll from
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hurricane maria in puerto rico home to more than 3 million americans could be thousands more than the official count of just 64. according to a new harvard university study, the category 4 storm could be responsible for at least 4645 deaths. president trump said last october that the storm had been less devastating than hurricane katrina in 2005. the new estimate is more than double katrina's death toll of 18 33. nbc's gabe gutierrez joins us from san juan. there you are in the heart of it. i was there a few months ago. that island is still suffering. what are officials saying? you can't hang your hat on 64 at this point. >> yeah. good morning. as you mentioned, this is an island that's still recovering. behind me, san juan is back and running. the power is back on. several mountain communities are still struggling quite a bit.
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just spoke with san juan's mayor. she estimates while 23,000 homes throughout the island are without power, she says that 80100 people without power. more than eight months after hurricane maria. she said this tweet following the release of the report that while shocked many people here, it angered many people here, not many people here surprised as they didn't believe the earlier death toll of 64. she says this should be a day of collective mourning in puerto rico. thousands dead because of not being able to get the job done. she's been an outspoken critic of the trump administration and officials here. there was a press conference after the release of the report. there was a response to the questions about the huge discrepancy between the government's number and this harvard estimate. take a listen. >> you want the real number to go out.
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we had a vertical that was sub par. we recognize it. toward the future, we want to make sure that it is effective and it's not only a good one but it can be a model. >> reporter: he called it a sub par response. now, stephanie, we've been pressing the governor shortly after the storm asking him whether the death toll was underreported. at the time he said they had a vigorous process in place. they point to another study they're waiting for to come out from george washington university. the major question right now, stephanie, is this hurricane season, and it's set to start on friday. can this island withstand another monster storm? the mayor says it wouldn't take a category five storm to do huge damage here. a category one would devastate the island. the electrical grid is fragile at this point. there are still people without power more than eight months after the storm in puerto rico
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home to more than 3 million american citizens. >> we need to remember that. they are american citizens. we should not look at this like should we help our neighbor? this is our family. gabe joining us from san juan. thank you. donald trump's attorney michael cohen wrapped up his court appearance and nbc news investigations reporter tom winter outside the courthouse. tom, this is a really complicated weedy one. what happened? >> reporter: so, i believe michael cohen is just heading outside of the courtroom right now. we've got a separate camera on that. the key news here today is the government has turned over 3.7 million items of some sort of a document or it could be computer files. it could be recordings. they've turned over 3.7 million items they seized from michael cohen as part of a court ordered search warrant. 1.3 million of those items have been reviewed by michael cohen's attorneys according to his
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attorneys. the government says they've turned over pretty much everything at this point except for two old blackberries which may belong to michael cohen's wife as well as, and this is interesting, a shredder the government was able to seize as part of their search warrant. it appears they're in the process of putting back together the shredded documents. just those three things they haven't turned over. the judge ordered today that michael cohen's team is to review all the materials by june 15th. if he does not review all the materials by june 15th, mark what items are attorney/client privilege, provide them to the special master whether they should be privileged or turned over to the government. if michael cohen's government does not review the documents and give them to the special master, the documents or items they believe are attorney/client privilege by june 15th, the special master will not review any more of the materials at this point. instead a government privileged team or a government taint team
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will come in and the government, a separate team of prosecuters and investigators will look at the documents, see what may be attorney/client privilege and see what should be turned over as part of the search warrant. there's a time crunch on michael cohen's attorney. that's the key news as it relates to the ondoing -- >> i'm going to interrupt you. michael avenatti is speaking right now. >> some of them relate to my client and her attorney/client privilege communications. mr. cohen and his attorney mr. ryan should release all of those audio recordings to the american people and to congress so they can be heard by all and people can make their own determinations as to their importance relating to the president and what he knew and when he knew it, and what he did as it relates to conspireing with michael cohen to commit one or more potential crimes.
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thank you. >> and let's -- there you have it. michael avenatti, stormy daniels' lawyer, not a surprise that he would be there today. a big day in court. amazing tom winter just saying they're going to be putting back together shredded papers. that didn't work out for humpty dumpty. next, disturbing new data on prison data. certain americans get more time than others even for the same crimes. we're going to break down the numbers and talk about how the system could be fixed. a lot of people are focussed on prison reform. apparently kim kardashian is heading to talk about it in the oval office with the president. ...the only eye drop... ...approved for the signs... ...and symptoms of dry eye. because dry eye can mean... ...more than... ...just dryness. xiidra may provide lasting relief... ...starting in two weeks. one drop in each eye, twice a day. don't use if you are allergic to xiidra.
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cohigher!ad! higher! parents aren't perfect, but then they make us kraft mac & cheese and everything's good again. today, kim kardashian west will be at the white house to discuss the prison reform system with senior advisor jared kushner. jeff sessions on the out. kardashian in. the daughter has been in talks about the visit for several months now after advocating for
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a 62-year-old woman in prison on a life sentence since 1996 for a non-violent drug offense. alice marie johnson was given the sentence for her first offense after admitting she acted as a go between. she never sold any drugs herself. the case is unusual. a new study out from harvard university highlights both gender and racial disparities in the criminal justice system. let's take a look at these numbers harvard researchers found. they followed 1400 judges for 15 years examining the sentencing of more than half a million defendants and in our system of justice those are supposed to be handed out by impartial judges. >> there's no such thing as a republican judge or a democratic judge. we just have judges in this country. >> well justice neil gorsich's
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words might be what inspired this country in the beginning. republican presidents handed down sentences on average 2.4 months longer than those appointed by democratic presidents. in gender terms, women defenders were given sentences more than 12 months shorter. black defendants get 4.8 months more than other races with similar offenses. judges appointed by republican presidents tended to give black defendants sentences three months longer than white defendants convicted of similar crimes. the longer sentences compounds the larger issue that black inmates make up 37.9% of the prison population according to the federal bureau of prisons despite only making of 13.3% of the population. black judges tend to treat men and women defendants more
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equalablely than white colleagues. in a very sad but unsurprising finding, judges in states with higher rates of racism measured by popular support against interracial marriage tended to give black defendants harsher sentences than it did white defendants. here's where all of this intersects with voting. in 2017 about 34% of federal judges were appointed by republican presidents. with president trump's quick nominations and as the senate's quick confirmation process for most, the number is estimated to rise by 50% to 2020. joining me now new york times reporter and dean of the school of social diplomacy at the university of pennsylvania. adam, you wrote about this study for the times. what stuck out to you the most? you can take your feelings aside and lets get down to numbers.
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>> they looked at half a million sentences. some of it confirms what we already know that black defendants do worse before judges of all political affiliations. that's terrible but in the new. what was new is there's a disproportionate affect among republican appointed judges. these are serious people who on average give black defendants substantially longer sentences that democratic appointed judges and that's a startling finding. >> john, we like to think that judges are neutral parties only interested in justice but these numbers tell us different. what can we really do to get closer to that ideal, a fair step for all. what really can be done here? >> this study is a step in the right direction because the first thing we have to come to terms with is just recognizing
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what the data shows us. even if people are trying to be fair, that's way in which the assumptions we make about race, the way in which race thinking informs the other ways we see the world will impact even as we we're trying to be impartial. it's so much about how we incorporate a common sense understanding of race into the other decisions we make on the bechb and other places that we often can't control our anticipate. >> if you're talking unconscious bias which think about the timing just yesterday starbucks took on this issue head on. adam you practiced law for more than ten years. what is your take on moving toward a more fair sentencing system? >> well, i think dean jackson is right. what needs to be done is for people to con front these numbers, look them square many the face and try to make sense of them.
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try to adjust to them. try to be aware of what are the factor beyond the strictly legal sentencing factors the judges look at to get at the correct sentence. it's a funny balance. judges shouldn't be robots. they should take account of the human being in front of them and make the correct sentencing decision. on the other hand, they need to be aware of unconscious things that might be swaying them in an inappropriate direction. >> let's talk about cases like alice johnson's. are they products of the mandatory minimum sentence. when i hear about a 62-year-old woman was the middle man and serving the life sentence and maybe she will be pardoned. kim kardashian is on a mission but how do sentences like this happen? >> you want to give judges digs
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cession but you recognize the reason the study helps to give us focus on, if we're not careful we reproduce we kind of inequities that we want to eradicate. what i hope we can take from this study that is positive is the more training, the longer the judge is on the bench, we do seem to see some indication they are able to push back against these tendencietendencies. trying to work really hard every single day to unlearn some of what we take for granted about race and gender. >> how do you feel about the steps taken last week about prison reform? do you consider it a good first step, john? >> i think as long as we're trying to talk honestly as a society about how to reimage our approach to criminal justice, i think we're in the game and we have to stay in the game, stay thoughtful and keep as many conversations in the game to get
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it right. >> we have to keep having the conversations and mover things forward. thank you for joining me. maybe after mrs. west visit to the white house, there will be good news. it's time for our monumental americans opinion it's henriette lax whose cancer cells are still in use today. she was born back in 1920 and grew up on a tobacco farm with her grandfather. in 1935 at 14 years old she gave ber birth to the first of her five children. in 1941 the family moved to maryland. in 1951 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and died at just 31 years old. during her treatments and after her death, researchers took cell samples would you tell us her permission as was kus customary at the time. they found cells from her cancer reproduced quickly and lived a long time. perfect for research. today her cells are the source
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of some of the heli immortal cell line. her life was honored with a book and movie. the immortal life of henriette lacks. her family has won certain privacy rights related to their dna. an extraordinary story though it wasn't something she intended. she ended up being a lifesaver. if you have a monumental american, please share with us. there's nothing like better. tweet us@velshiruhle. i'll see you again tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. my colleague ali velshi off today. hopefully he'll be back soon opinion that m that man is on vacation. breaking point. president trump says flat out,
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he wishes he had picked a different attorney general. as we learn the president tried to press his a.d. to reverse his resue c recusal in the russia probe. it was president trump himself who said number one, i didn't collude with russia but if anyone connected with my campaign did, i want the fbi to find that out. it looks to me like the fbi was doing what president trump said i want you to do. find it out. tweets and consequences. ro roseanne barr blaming everything from ambien to humor. valerie jarrett speaking on msnbc. >> i think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. i'm fine. i'm worried about the people who will don't have a circle of friends and followers who come right to

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