tv MSNBC Live MSNBC June 2, 2018 5:30am-6:00am PDT
hey there. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarters in new york at the half hour. president trump is at camp david a day after reversing his decision to cancel his summit with kim jong-un. the president now appearing to concede that it is going to take more than just one meeting with the north korean leader before they come to a final agreement. here's what the president told reporters after meeting with the top aide yesterday. >> i've never said it happens in one meeting. you are talking about years of hostility, years of problems. it's a process. we're not going to sign -- we're not going to go in and sign
something on june 12th. we never will. we're going to start a process. and i told him today, take your time. we can go fast. we can go slowly. but i think they would like to see something happen. if we can work that out, that would be great. >> meanwhile, new reaction from former white house adviser steve bannon breaking with the president over his criticism of attorney general jeff sessions for recusing himself from the russia is investigation. >> i think the president is wrong. i think the president has been wrong from the beginning about -- if i can respectfully disagree with the president of the united states. i think the -- i think the whole concept of recusal is not even an issue. i think rudy guiliani or chris christie or jeff sessions, anybody associated with the campaign, would have had to recuse themselves before grassley's committee even voted him out to go to the floor for a vote. >> joining me right now, former white house communications director anthony scaramucci. with a good saturday morning to
you, let's get right into it. do you agree with steve bannon there? is the president wrong to be criticizing jeff sessions over his recusal? >> i think chris christie and rudy guiliani would disagree with steve on that. they don't think they would have had to recuse in that situation. i think there was a lot of heat on attorney general sessions from his former colleagues in the senate. and the president certainly did not want him to do that. that is where it started. frankly, that was my first or second day in the white house where the president was lighting it up with tweets. now they are in this knot, alex, where attorney general sessions is not going to leave. the president sort can't really have him leave right now because i don't think he can replace him in a way that is going to be approved by the senate. so you're in this cord yann knot. it would be better if we could dial it down at this point because we are all playing on
the same team and wearing the same jersey. >> yeah. you know, you mentioned your tenure in the white house. it was 11 days long last july. that is when "the associated press" reported that the president threatened to fire sessions, priebus who made a desperate case to save his job. how much were you aware of that at the time? >> obviously i was very much aware of that. if you remember, i'm on my first day the memo came out where the president had me reporting directly to him. we obviously have had more than one conversation related to that. but, listen, as it relates to the attorney general, he sort of started on the campaign the same day that i did with steven miller. i hold him in very high regard. he is a very good guy. it's just a very difficult situation. this iss the stuff that happens in washington. the president doesn't believe he did anything wrong. he doesn't believe there was any
collusion, certainly definitely not by him, and he doesn't think anybody on his staff. $17 million later, 17, 18 months later, i think is a little frustrating for him as he is trying to implement policies that are good for the economy, hopefully good for world peace and so forth. it's a frustrating thing that this is what goes on in washington. this is why it is probably better for me to be back here in new york and in beautiful southampton. >> certainly a nice day. do you think the president holds jeff sessions in high regard? you say you do. how does the president feel about him and his ability? >> i can't really speak for the president, but i think he's mad at him. i think he was very happy with him on the day that he especially tkorsed him. if you remember, he was the first sitting senator to endorse president trump or then candidate trump. that was a monumental thing for us. it was probably 45,000 people there in alabama there on that day when senator sessions
introduced then candidate trump. so there is a friendship there. there is a loyalty there. i think the attorney general said it was one of his life's dreams to be attorney general. the president is obviously a very loyal guy. when he was putting his cabinet together, he wanted to make sure that senator sessions had one of the highest draft picks to go where he wanted. so i just think he was disappointed. and i guess he got caught off guard by the scandals in washington. if secretary clinton had become president of the united states, she would have gotten lit up with the scandals incorporated. they would have came after her on e-mails, they would have came after her on uranium one. it is the same playbook basically washington has had since the early '70s. they are still working off 33 rpm record when we have all moved on.
so the american people are actually tired of it, in my opinion. i don't think they like this sort of nonsense. they want the investigation to be tidied up one way or the other. >> i will add an appendage to the president is a loyal guy, if it suits him. i want to put in perspective your confidence for the viewers. when was your last communication with with the president? >> so the last time i talked to the president was last friday before memorial day. i had a great conversation with him about a number of different topics. i don't talk to him super often. i don't want to exaggerate my relationship with him. but the good news is he returns my phone call when i call. he rarely calls me, frankly. when he does call me, i make sure i return his phone call pretty quickly. >> what about others in the inner circle?
>> i still talk to jared and ivanka. i have a great relationship with other members of the staff. obviously i stay in touch with a lot of people that i was on the campaign with, whether it was steven miller or hope hicks, corey lewandowsky, steven mnuchin. these people became friends. you have to remember back then we were outspent probably 2-1. we were outmanned 1.5-1. we were in a foxhole together. a lot of us became very close. >> can i ask you quickly about hope hicks. is there a reason why after her departure in march, her position hasn't been filled? do you think it will be filled and, if so, by whom? >> it will be up to the president. he has talked to a few people about the position. it's a unique position in that white house because the president himself is a very good communicator. he has a certain communications
style. it is unorthodox relative to other presidents, frankly, and other washington people. so it's going to be very hard for a washington operative to take that role. and so i think he'll find somebody that matches his personality and hopefully can get along with john kelly. and if that happens, they'll name somebody. but for right now, though, i think the communication is going pretty well. they have dialed back some of the fighting, thank god, and they're not slugging at each other like they were one or two weeks ago. so that's good. >> i want to get to the pardons. the president made a number of pardons this week. martha stewart, and floating the idea of rod blagojevich, commuting that sentence there. he is sending a message to michael cohen, michael glen and others. do you agree with that?
>> it should probably be rebutting a little bit. i don't think that that's fair. i think he has decided that he's going to use the pardoning power in a little bit of a different way than past presidents. a lot of times, alex, past presidents waited until the end of the term to do the pardons. if you look at the number of pardons clinton did in the last couple of days of his term, they were monument al. >> but, anthony, doesn't that right there, the timing of this, doesn't that give an appearance of conflict of interest or at least a purpose and intent behind this timing? >> well, i understand why his opponents are saying that. but i actually don't think that is fair to the president. he's actually looking at these on a case-by-case basis. when he was candidate he said, boy, those people were treated unfairly or there was an unfair procedure or process in place. i think what people don't like
about it, frankly, he is actually using his power. he is not going through the protocols that were in the department of justice or he's not leaning on people that prosecuted these people as much as he's leaning on his own judgment and intuition. >> but if he were to wait until after the investigation were to be concluded, wouldn't that then negate any discussion that we're having right now, the eupl proper impropriety of it? >> he is not an orthodox person. there is no way we would be getting this summit without his personality and the force of his personality. what i try to tell people -- not you but people in general want to put him in a box and they want to act like past
presidents, the past 44 presidents. not going to happen. he got elected by the american people because they were frankly very dissatisfied with what was going on in washington. they wered a change. they wanted somebody to come in and disrupt things. he is a great disruptor. >> true. >> if you look at the economic dashboard, a lot of things going on in the country right now, people are quite happen. >> listen, unemployment numbers were darned good. no denying all of that. you mentioned the tenor of things coming out of the white house. there's been a renewed focus on the leaks. we have "the daily beast" reporting on what they describe as a brutal confrontation in the war on leaks going on between the white house communications director mercedes schlapp and kelly sadler. i'm curious on your take on all of this and what it says about the working environment within the trump white house.
>> i can't speak to the working environment because i haven't been there in a while. i don't know mercedes well. i met her once at one of the conventions, i think the republican convention. i do know kelly sadler very well. i have an enormous amount of respect for her. she obviously made a mistake with those comments. if you are in a small group of people working very hard together, somebody makes a comment like that that is inappropriate, to run out to a reporter and to do it anonymously, which is what they typically do in washington, all of this sort of back stabbing nonsense, i thought it was very up fair to the fellow teammates. whoever the leaker was in my mind did something terrible. now, having said that, okay, kelly did something that she offered an apology to meghan mccain for. but this is the nonsense that's going on, alex. we have these verbal transgressions and then we want to have air capital punishment crime. so what happened there is she
said something bad. somebody said, oh, great, i'm going to get her fired for what she said. so they run outside of the west wing, get on their cell phone and call somebody to try to get kelly fired. just really wrong to do. frankly, there was a merger between always trumpers and rnc communications people. and there needed to be somebody in there that understood a corporate merger or how to meld cultures together to get people to dial it back a little bit and stop the mudslinging. that has not happened. i was 11 days into that when obviously i made my mistake. so kelly decided to fire me over that. if i had more time i would have worked with them, because i had done these mergers before, and i would have gotten people calmed down and playing off the same sheet music. but it hasn't happened yet. it really hasn't affected the president. he's frustrated by it. but they do need some leadership in there to make it stop. >> anthony scaramucci, good to
talk to you. come join me in the studio. or hang out in the headlamp tops. i would too. >> i'm going for starbucks right now. i just gave them a prop. coming up next, my panel's reaction to the comments by anthony scaramucci and the president's pardon plans. - i love my grandma. - anncr: as you grow older, your brain naturally begins to change which may cause trouble with recall. - learning from him is great... when i can keep up! - anncr: thankfully, prevagen helps your brain and improves memory. - dad's got all the answers.
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like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis, the number one cardiologist-prescribed blood thinner. ask your doctor if eliquis is what's next for you. welcome back, everyone. as promised, time for the panel. msnbc political analyst, zelena. former white house aide to george w. bush and rick tyler, former cruz campaign spokesman. it is the saturday morning family. okay, kids, let's get right into it. rick, we begin with you here. your reaction to scaramucci's comments, what was your big takeaway? >> scaramucci is like a trump franchise. he sort of has the same style. he's from new york. he is definitely a defender of the administration.
interestingly, yesterday -- i think it was yesterday on this network, anthony scaramucci made excuses for why trump embellishes story. he's always going to try to be close to the administration. his epic fail as a communications director is always going to be part of his legacy there. >> okay. joe, i want to get your recollection to the president's handling of the roseanne barr racist joke this week. doesn't it make it hard for the white house to defend its own handling of racism and race-related issues? >> absolutely. absolutely. what roseanne barr did was wrong. my hat is off to the abc leadership because they wouldn't tolerate that even though her show was rated so highly. they did the right thing. i'm saddened that the president didn't use it as a -- what president obama would have called a teachable moment for americans. instead, he made it about himself.
in this day and age, you cannot. we need to grab hold of these and call them for what they are and use it as an opportunity to bring about more healing in the country rather than division. this was another opportunity missed. >> zerlina, there was samantha bee demanding to get fired. she apologized for the word choice. she took full responsibility. but where do we go from here when there's another inappropriate comment made against a white house official or when the president himself makes an offensive comment? >> we're in a precarious moment when the white house likes to stand on to criticize people for using bad language. the president has used terrible language. he used the c word to describe women in the past. he took a photograph with ted nugent. he called hillary clinton the same c word that samantha bee used. there is a difference between offensive language and a racist
comment made about valerie jarrett. those two things are distinct. but it is a really sad moment. and trump unleashed all of this. the same reason why a lot of people say they support him and voted for him because he it is authentic and there's no spin. it all led us to this place where we're using this coarse language in our politics and really misogyny and racism don't have any place in our politics and in is a sad moment. because donald trump has put us in this position. >> let's turn to the president's pardon of dinesh d -souza. >> i president said i got to tell you man to man you've been screwed. i've been looking at the case, i knew from the beginning it was fishy. he said upon reviewing it he felt a great injustice had been done and using his power, he was going to rectify it.
sort of clear the slate. and he said he just wanted me to be out there to be a bigger voice than ever defending the principles that i believe in. >> rick, is that what these pardons are also meant to serve as? to use these people as another vehicle for his political agenda? >> no. dinesh d 'souza has been a powerful and eloquent voice for the conservative movement. he's a first-generation immigrant. he's spoken to the beliefs that many of us conservatives have. but this pardon, it doesn't really settle much, because he's essentially paid his fine. but it's a perversion of justice. and dines shmpb d 'souza of all people should have known. that i don't believe the president new d 'souza. but these things should go through a process. pardons are meant to you know,
to correct an injustice. so you can make a case individually for say, governor blagojevich, former governor of illinois that his sentence was far out of proportion perhaps with what he did. but taken on the whole. you look at dines shmpb d 'souza. and rod blagojevich, convicted of selling corruption to the governor's office and you look at martha stewart. blagojevich and martha stewart were both celebrities, both on "the apprentice." james comey convicted martha stewart because she had lied. dinesh d 'souza was convicted, he apologized and said he deeply regretted what he had done. so for him to go out there and wipe it all away, i think it's a perversion of justice. >> your thoughts? >> i agree it's a perversion of justice and i think that president trump is blatantly
skirting justice and the criminal justice system to pardon people who were convicted of crimes, pled guilty of crimes that he potentially could be charged with in the future or people in his orbit could be charged with in the future. we're talking about campaign finance violations, we talking about false statements to the fbi and we're also talking about the crime of insider trading which now is something people are talking about because of his tweet yesterday, before the jobs numbers came out. so what information is donald trump telling his cronies on the phone when he's having his executive time in the white house? and i think that this is a really precarious moment for country. our justice system needs to have integrity and the president needs to go through the appropriate processes before pardoning folks. he shouldn't be pardoning his friends and celebrities just because he personally feels like the justice system did them wrong. >> stay where you are. in a moment we're going to have a hot minute to talk about ivanka trump and her new trademarks in china. one editorial calls it an
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renewed scrutiny of ivanka trump's business in the wake of her company getting a new set of trademarks from china. we're bringing back in zirlena, rick and joe. joe, look you worked in the white house, you know how these ethics issues are supposed to play out. at what point do you think congress could weigh in on this? especially if it becomes a big talking point for democrats during the mid terms? >> congress will probably take a look into this, no member of the white house staff ought to be able to profit while they work for the president of the united states and this looks like it could be a violation. >> any thought from you, rick, that these are crossing the line, ethically speaking? >> the appearance of it, i don't know how much protection she has from china, china has not honored trademarks in the past historically. >> what about you, zirlena, the base is going to look at this in one way.
how about other voters? how do you think it will be perceived? >> i think the american people understand corruption and i think they're going to be thinking about whether or not the trump white house and the family members in the white house are making decisions based on what's the best decision for the american people, and the american interests versus their own personal profits and i think that that is a message that will resonate with not just people who don't like the president, but anyone. we don't want corruption and access to be the foundation of our democracy. >> you guys are good, i said a minute and you came in in just one minute. what we know went what went on in that meeting with the president and a top north korean official coming up. protection.. advanced connectivity... and one more thing...
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