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tv   MSNBC Live With Ayman Mohyeldin  MSNBC  June 3, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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>> thanks. a lot to break down this hour. above the law. that's certainly what it looks like that the trump legal team is ready to argue about the president when it comes to the mueller investigation after the leak of a secret memo, and that same memo admitting for the very first time that it was the president himself that dictated the first misleading statement by donald trump jr. after his infamous trump tower meeting when russians went public. >> the 20-page so credit left, the letter spent to special prosecutor robert mueller laying out their legal strategy and the bottom line contention that the president can't be forced to testify. can't be accused of committing obstruction of justice and mueller should wrap it up and move up. the bombshells working a lot of reaction today. >> what this memo outlines and what their team has said was if the mueller team is going to potentially subpoena the president, that is something
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that they believe is not authorized. >> i look at the obstruction part of the argument this way. he didn't obstruct. can win it on the faction, can't be indicted or questioned because it interferes with the president. >> i no one is given absolute power by our constitution. >> the whole idea that he can't be charged with obstruction of justice, the last time that ever happened in this country was when we were ruled by king george. >> so we want to break down right now the legal issues involved in three specific areas that the memo addresses. is the president above the law when it comes to obstruction of justice as the memo suggests? can the president simply refuse to testify if robert mueller issues a subpoena? and with the revelation that the president himself dictated the misleading statement about the trump tower meeting, does lying to the media and public have any legal significance? we've got all three of those covered with among the very best to discuss them, those issues -- with us those include jill
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winebanks, former special prosecutor and msnbc contributor and donald goldman and david ignatius, former columnist for "the washington post." great to have you with us. jill, let me begin with you. trump's legal team is arguing that you can't even pursue the president for obstruction writing, it remains our position that the president's actions here by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry or even exer ice his power to pardon if he so desired. it certainly seemed like a lot of legal jargon there, but obstruction was right there right there at the top of the articles of impeachment prepared against richard nixon so is trump's legal team correct here, do you think? >> i think that it is one of the most terrifying things i've ever
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read, amendnd i hope everyone listening realizes what a wake-up call this is to america because if the president is above the law in the way that he can totally control everything, then we do not have a rule of law. you have a dictatorship. no president can possibly be allowed to have this kind of unfettered power. it is absolutely wrong. it is certainly impeachable. we know that because it was the first article of impeachment against richard nixon, and it cannot be allowed to stand. it is a very, very wrong thing. >> david, this notion of the president somehow being above the law, what's the potential damage of that the nation, to our democratic and judicial institutions? >> well, this assertion is that the president is the law because he controls the executive branch and the justice department. he has the absolute authority to end investigations, and it's extraordinary. i think if this argument is
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pressed, it will go to the supreme court, and it will be absolutely a landmark case. if you look ati reactions today even by some prominent trump supporters, prominent republicans, you see that this may have been a bridge too far for trump's lawyers to have argued, chris christie, a former trump campaign associate surrogate, that called the argument if i heard him right outrageous, kind of a ken terrorist republican, will hurd, part of the new wave republicans in the house was very critical and skeptical of these arguments. this may have been a case of overreach even in giuliani's response, the comment that might lead quickly to impeachment that the president tried to pardon himself and assert this coined of authority, that struck as telling. >> let me read you part of the argument here and the
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president's legal team and kind of go in-depth on why the president shouldn't have to testify. having him testify demeans the office of the president before the world. the imposition on the time and attention to the president caused by this inquiry has already inflicted damage on the president and his office. the time and attention that would be required to prepare for an interview is significant and would represent a continued imposition that would directly impact the nation. here's what trump attorney rudy giuliani said about that on "abc this week." >> so you're still recommend he does not sit down for the interview. >> jay and i want to keep an open mind and i have to be honest, we're lean towards not. >> daniel, first of all, this is a president who has spent more time on the golf course than some professional golfers to be exact. is time really an issue here? is it a legitimate local reason that they can use if mueller subpoenas the president? >> no.
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the short answer is no. in fact, that was decided by the supreme court in the paula jones case against bill clinton where that was essentially the argument, that he's president, that he should not have to sit for a deposition in a civilization and the supreme court said that's wrong. he did have to and that -- and that there's a way to work around it and will accommodate his schedule and that's just the civil case and generally the law views california cases to be of a little more significance and seriousness than civil cases that generally just deal with money. this is life, liberty, et cetera, so i think -- i was surprised that they trotted out that argument which has been pretty clearly dismissed by the supreme court. i was surprised that they miscited a statute for obstruction of justice in the letter. to the extent that they were hoping to persuade robert mueller, those are not very
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effective arguments, and as a prosecutor reading the letter, i would look at that and that would undermain the credibility of all of their other arguments as well. >> so one of the big revelations that kind of emerged from this letter is an admission that president trump himself dictate that had infamous statement put out by don jr. that claimed the trump tower motoring was about russian adoption. this was during the campaign. in fact, trump's spokeeople had flatly denied that in the past. take a listen to this, guys. >> the statement that was released on saturday was released by donald trump jr. i'm sure in consultation with his lawyers. the president wasn't involved in that. i do want to be clear in, that the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. it came from donald trump jr. so that's what i can tell >> you he certainly didn't dictate but, you know, he -- like i said, he weighed in, offered suggestion, like any father would do. >> that's now very different than what we've learned from the letter.
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the legal team basically argues that lying to the press and the american people is a private matter and not of interest to the special counsel. jill, help us understand this. are they correct in argument that they are making that lying to the press is insignificant for the president and is also a private matter. >> well, first of all, l me say that not every father would do that. my father was a man of great integrity and would have never advised me to lie and would have never participated in a lie, so they are wrong on that. they are wrong on the law. they are wrong on every aspect of this. the president, it's very interesting, is now admitting that he did dictate. it's in very clear language in the letter, that he was responsible for it, and it is as false statement. it is true it is not a crime to lie to the public, but it is an impeachable offense. we learned that from watergate. it's also something that voters should and will take into
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account in elections coming for. if the president is lying to them and add hitting that he's lying to them, then they have to hold him accountable, so it should be something that will load to either impeachment or to a loss of the election coming forward. >> let me -- let me, dave, play you the sound bite from rudy giuliani. he have's obviously been doing the media rounds again. he had something very interesting to say about that donald jr. statement. take a listen. >> jay would have to answer, that and i've talked to him about it. i think jay was wrong. this is the reason you don't let the president testify. all recollection keeps changing or we're not even asked a question and somebody makes an assumption. >> our recollection keeps changing as a reason not to let trump testify. that's a pretty telling comment, david. what is your reaction to that? how do you interpret the lawyer of the president saying our recollection keeps changing. >> well, rudy giuliani is the
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strangest counsel for the president. talk about changing, you know, versions of what's going on. i think that was made a moment ago is the one we need to remember which is that in the end the offenses -- if they exist that were committed by the president would be left under our system probably to political judgment in an impeachment process, and what he said, the way individuals, the scripting of donald trump jr.'s statement is going to be relevant to any proceed, and whether or not it's a legally culpable offense i think misses the point. we're heading towards i think a process of political judgment about this, and that's -- that's form it and that form is
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absolutely crucial. >> and speak of political judgment, danielle, the letter addresses the president's tactic of going after the fbi and the department of justice publicly. in fact, they say, it's also worth responding to the popular suggestion that the president's public criticism of the fbi either constitutes obstruction or serves as evidence of obstruction. such criticism ignores the sacred responsibility of the president to hold his subordinates accountable. after all, the fbi is not above the law, and we are now learning of the disappointing results of a lack of accountability in both the department of justice and the fbi. does that defense hold any water, do you think? >> i don't think -- i think they are trying to make a broader point about the optics of this investigation and some of the errors or snafus that the fbi encountered and executed, particularly during the hillary clinton e-mail investigation oddly enough, but i do think you have to take a step back and
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take a little bit of a deep breath and remember the context of the letter. this is a legal letter to the special counsel that is putting forth legal defenses, so when they say t the president cannot be charged with obstruction of justice, they are not saying, and rudy giuliani made that clear today, that he can't be impeached for obstruction of justice. they are simply just saying that he he cannot be indicted for obstruction of justice. i do think that's wrong and giuliani walked that back because if the president murdered someone and there was an investigation into it and he fired jim comey because he was investigating it, that would be a problem, so just remember a little bit of the context that this is more of a technical legal argument trying to convince the special counsel essentially not to make donald trump testify. >> all right. i'm go to ask daniel and david to stick around and jill, thanks so much for joining us. outside of president's clearinghouse winners, nobody has been happier to get an
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oversized envelope than donald trump was this week but words from kim jong-un are one thing and what actions can we expect from the north korean dictator when he sit down with the president? we'll talk about that next. loved every step of fatherhood... and made old cars good as new. but i couldn't bear my diabetic nerve pain any longer, so i talked to my doctor and he prescribed lyrica. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions, suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worse depression, unusual changes in mood or behavior, swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling or blurry vision. common side effects: dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain, swelling of hands, legs, and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who have had a drug or alcohol problem may be more likely to misuse lyrica. now i have less diabetic nerve pain. ask your doctor about lyrica. when you combine ancestry's with its historical records... you could learn you're from ireland donegal, ireland and your ancestor was a fisherman.
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our objective remains as stated by the minister, the complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization and removal of all wmd on the korean peninsula. we can anticipate at best a
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bumpy road to the negotiation. >> all right. that was defense secretary james mattis in singapore weighing in on the high-stakes summit between president trump and north korean leader kim jong-un. secretary mattis is also saying sanctions relief is now off the table for pyongyang, but on friday the president says he's no longer using maximum pressure on his strategy to denuclearize the korean peninsula. he announced this tactic after announcing the summit was back on. he revived the talks when the top aide kim jong alcohol hand-delivered a letter from kim jong-un to the president. joining me now is former u.n. ambassador to the united nations and former governor of new mexico ambassador richardson and
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davidig faceus is back. >> are you worried that trump is trying to play an advantage with some of the photo-ops and scenes that we've been seeing. >> i amoncerned. the summit is nine days away and we've changed strategy. the president is saying he's for a phased denuclearization, that we're going into a negotiating process, that kim jong-un is basically, you know, very sincere. now, look, these are positions we should have taken position. we should have a strategy. i don't think we have a strategy. the second problem is we've got too many mixed messages. secretary of state pompeo has done a good job. two meetings with kim jong-un. he established the intelligence channel. you know, he went to new york with the spy chief and kind of straightened things out and then you've got the secretary of defense, you know, a very respectable guy and then previously we had the vice president and we had john bolton
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talking about the libya model which scared the north koreans because gadhafi ended up dead. you know, one, get one messenger and, two, get a strategy. we've got nine days to go. i still think this summit can yield some positive results so let's keep going. >> david, the president can sound a slightly more cautious tone on the talks. take a listen. >> it will be a beginning. i don't say and i've never said it happens in one meeting. it's a process. we're not going to sign -- we're not going to go in and sign something on june 12. we never were. we're going to start a process, and i said told them today. take your time. we can go fast. we can go slowly. >> do you think, david, that the president tamping down expectations is a smart strategy here, or is he hedging his bets a little bit in. >> good to tamp down expectations and good in terms of president trump's own psychology. people feared he would go in so eager to make the big deal that
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he would agree to things that weren't in the u.s. interest, so it is good for him to reduce the expectations. it is confusing to have so many different articulations of what the u.s. goal is. secretaryattis reit rated our goal is cvid, complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization, and that sooemd seemed to contradict what the president is calling a phased process. if it's confusing to the north koreans, certainly it's confusing to all of us. >> yesterday it was reported that the white house had to find a third party to pay for the north koreans' hotel rooms for the summit, believe it or not. ambassador richardson, you've been toorth korea eight times. is that a sign that the president's promise of a prosperous north korea is a strategy? is that something that the north korean regime that fears capitalism or modernizing its economy, that it could lose its
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grip on power if in fact the country becomes prosperous as the president claims? >> no, you know, the north koreans always do this. they make you pay for everything. i've been there several times. they feed you and then they make you pay for it. use their telephones, this is common practice, and by the way, i think david ignasius is an icon. they say they want denuclearization and when you look at timelines and what is most important here is detailed inspections, timelines. are they going to find a way to get out of this agreement? potentially. i think there's a lot of good things that can happen. missile curbs, nuclear curbs, no exports of chemical weapons to
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libya, nuclear and missile exports, none of that. conventional weapons we lev for japan and technology curbs on future development on missiles and nuclear and also human rights issues, the remains of our soldiers from the career won. get some of those remains back. this used to be an ongoing program. i still back the president on could go this summit but be ready and be prepared. you've got nine days and let pompeo run the show. just maybe keep quiet which is impossible for him and find a strategy. we've got nine days to go, maybe six or seven because it takes several days to get to singapore. >> what's the best outcome that could come out of the singapore talks or summit? >> i think governor richardson mentioned the list. i think i focused on just one
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and if as part of the process we had a peace treaty finally between north and south korea. that could include limits on conventional weapons, the 25,000 or so rocket 2xs pointed to seoul. if that one thing was done not denuclearization, and i think as the governor said, there's a range of things to flow from this. you have to be smart and careful. certainly a few days away. see how all that have plays out. great to have both of you with us. coming up, from roseanne to a controversial new member of donald trump's team, is islam phobia alive and well in america? and a tale of two different personalities and a tale of two different media outlets, a different version of we said they said is next. (vo) what if this didn't
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all right. time now for we said they said, and tonight we're doing things a little differently. instead of looking at how the international media reacted to news coming out of the u.s., we're going to be looking at how the media here dealt with two very big stories this week. sitcom star rosan barr attacking
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former obama aide valerie jarrett in a racist tweet and comedian samantha bee using a crass expletive to describe ivanka trump. now when the roseanne story first broke, it appeared to be a rare instance of mainstream and conservative outlets agreeing on a hot button issue that the sitcom star had gone too far. >> roseanne barr made some really incendiary and pretty appalling comments on twit f- >> it was a stone cold racist comment. it wasn't a joke. it was mean-spirited. it was vile. >> roseanne barr tweeting something so abhorrent i wish i didn't have to repeat it. >> all right. but there were some notable cracks in that view. >> i don't understand it to be anything other than free speech. like she's saying -- and it's extrooee extremely offensive and it's just that. >> all that happening the same night this network, msnbc, broadcast a town hall "everyday racism in america."
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valerie jarrett was a part of the guest panel. here she is address the controversy. >> i think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. i'm fine. i'm worried about all the people out the who don't have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense. >> this wasn't the first time that roseanne barr had committed an offense. she's hurled numerous homophobic and insults in the past leading many to question whether abc should have known better to begin with. >> as risks go, roseanne came with a ton of them. how did abc think that was going to go? >> but then days later samantha bee used the "c" word in reference to ivanka trump and while she was condemned for her language. >> she should be fired. she is a -- a vile, disgusting. "the "c" word is outrageous, unsemable and should be called
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out. >> unlike barr though bee didn't lose her show and there were then claims of a double standard in the two cases. >> you people you can't say anything about because they are black, transgender, muslim. >> that's right. >> and it means only people who are associated with trump. >> all right. so while the racism part of roseanne's tweet grabbed the headlines for good reason, the first part of her tweet has actually largely gone unnoticed. as a reminder and here's the tweet on your screen. roseanne treated muslim brotherhood and planet of the apes had a baby equals v.j. referring to valle jarrett, a black woman born in iran to american parents. the anti-muslim sentiments that have tweet really has gotten no attention whatsoever and until now. i want to bring in our greats, author of "american islamophobia" and with the detroit school of law. the reporter for al jazeera's
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year long investigation and a political reporter for "the guardian." great to have all of you join us. we've seen very little condemnation of the muslim brotherhood part of that tweet. i don't think a lot of people picked up on it, obviously the focus has been on racist part of it. do you think she would have lost her show if that was the only part of the tweet and didn't make the racist reference? >> not at all. i don't think she would have lost her show if she stopped typing after the muslim brotherhood. i think we can see from her twitter timeline over the years, we can see from her television show, we can see from the language that she's engaged in, that you know, anti-muslim rhetoric that islamophobia is not only justifiable, something we've given a pass to whether it's, you know, high-profile celebrity like roseanne or whether it's a politician like trump so i think not. i think she would have kept her show if she didn't make the statement -- the anti-black
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rates of statement likening valerie jarrett to an ape. >> so i know, that simon, rose answer, has a history of this kind of thing. she tweeted that jarrett was a secret muslim operative and has re-tweeted memes that the obama administration was filled with members of the muslim brotherhood. tell us a little bit about the history behind how and why the label of using the muslim brotherhood is a smear tactic among certain members of the conservative or right in this country. >> when she's accuse her of being part of the muslim brotherhood, what she's accusing her being a seditious element, a secret society set to undermine american values. with the islamophobia movement in america the muslim brotherhood is a label like communism was used decades ago. they paint it as an octopus with tentacles in all aspects of political society. the islamophobia industry accused congressmen who are
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muslim of being part of the muslim brotherhood and it's to undermine the american political voice and that's the intent and desire and outcome. >> i want to turn to the administration itself. "wall street journal" story about the chief of staff hired away from an anti-muslim group called center for american policy, one of the more controversial one saying he co-authored a book saying 80% of mosques are incubators at best subverse and at worst violence and should be treated accordingly. a senior vice president for policy and programs says the muslim brotherhood has achieved influence over the highest ranks of the u.s. government and there should be a new house on american activities activity to root out secret muslims in government. sabrina, how does someone like this with these views, who
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represented an organization with its track record as being one of the most notorious islamophobic organizations get such an important position on the national security council? >> well, i think it's notable that will there are a number of officials in this administration who have espoused what one can open openly -- you have a president who openly campaigned on banning all muslims from coming into the u.s., flirted with the idea of a muslim registry and made false claims of muslims celebrating on the roof of new jersey after 9/11. that, of course, never happened and he's continued to use a lot of the same language talking about muslims as president and it sets a tone from the top. i think a lot of anti-muslim rhetoric used to be more on the fringe and now it's very much part of the mainstream of the republican party because
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president trump himself as we know has made many derogatory statements about it and he's never really walked them black. >> interestingly to that point that sabrina brought up about this becoming more mainstream, i know you recently wrote an article for "the guardian" and it has an interesting point to it that there's islamophobia on the rise among the liberals in what is called liberal islamophobia saying it's more insidious than right wing bigotry. why do you say that? >> yeah. i think, above all, it's dangerous to caricature islamophobia something specifically coming from the right. it's more explicit, more brazen on the right with politicians like trump and with personalities like roseanne, but it's also present on the left. i think you see some of the same stereotypes and see some of the same simplistic assessments coming from really popular celebrated figures on the left. bill maher comes to mind. on his television show he's said the same harmful, vile of
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muslims as being a monolithic and demonous element so i think what is happening on the right is in some respects emboldening the rise on the level. the correlation is really critical. >> very interesting when you see it on both sides, both on the liberal side as well as the conservative side. i know you've investigated this islamophobia inc. for a year. how deeply rooted is this in american culture and american society and our politics? >> i think now that's completely interwoven with the conservative movement in america. you've got millions and millions of dollars from funding organizations and flowing into organizations that the splc will say are anti-muslim. some are receiving millions from the donors trust and donors capital fund and dark money and donation vehicles for the conservative movement. >> these are organizations which in the previous history of funded organizations of the
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heritage foundation now funding the security for islamic policy, fringe members five years ago w going to donald trump's white house. >> very quickly you wrote an article about reporting while muslim got a lot of attention. certainly went viral. how did you comfort presidential election back then when you looked at it? can you speak to how the president's rhetoric has affected you and others in the u.s. and does it give you any hope that this year the president will hold a ramadan dinner since we're here, hold it while we're in the month of ramadan. >> last year the president broke with tradition and did not host the annual white house and no indication that he plans to reverse course and reinstate that this year. i think ultimately the fundamental point here is that the president's changed since the campaign. there was a great deal of speculation as to whether he would props mediate some of his
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words once he understand the power of the office and said you have seen him continuing to engage in some of the incendiary rhetoric any time that there is a terrorist attack and jumping to conclusions before we even have the appropriate intelligence and certainly you -- again, you've not seen this president ever apologize, so even as the white house expresses outrage, for example, the initial purpose postsegment over what samantha bee said about ivanka trump no, one in this administration has issued any apology for any statements that they have ever made. again, it goes back to the point that the tone is ultimately set from the top. >> it's safe to say that anyone would have probably taken offense to that smear by roseanne in reference to valerie jarrett being a member of the muslim brotherhood. great to have your this evening. coming up, rewrite history. in the trump legal memo to robert mueller they portray the president as ma hero in the firing of former national security adviser michael flynn. this video just this.
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"tonight show" host jimmy fallon, the surprise commencement speaker at this afternoon's marjory stoneman douglas's high school commencement in florida, site of february's shooting tragedy. he tweeted class of 2018, you are not just the future, you are the president. ep changing the world and keep making us proud. the next big thing in food was once a little paper box. now we can easily take out food from a restaurant. let's stay in and binge-watch the snow. genius. now, the next big thing is the capital one savor card. good choice babe. oh, wait, hold on. earn 3% cash back on dining, 2% on groceries, and 1% on all other purchases. what's in your wallet?
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50 years after his assassination robert f. kennedy's message of building a better world seems still relevant today. here's a preview. >> i was invited to ride the funeral train. just wanted to keep going. just saw people all along the way holding their children, their little babies and people crying. some people carrying flowers. it was america on the train. >> when you see the imagery and his body passes on the train. they are wealthy and poor and black and they are white and they are young and they are old. >> i think it is amazing how many different types of people that my grandfather touched. >> all right. so we'll make sure to watch "headliners, robert f. kennedy" narrated by chris matthews at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc.
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your doctor should perform blood tests before you start and while taking xeljanz xr, and monitor certain liver tests. tell you doctor if you were in a region where fungal infections are common and if you have had tb, hepatitis b or c, or are prone to infections. needles. fine for some things. but for you, one pill a day may provide symptom relief. ask your doctor about xeljanz xr. an "unjection™". hey, you got everything you need. you got 1.4 million documents and plenty of witnesses. the president has given every explanation and correctly so. misimpressions. you've got everything you need.
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what else do are you looking for? >> that was rudy giuliani, and in a 20-page legal memo they maintain the president is immune to a special counsel subpoena and reveal new insights into key ev the mueller team is investigating. joining me now are jen kearns, former spokeswoman for the california republican party and dana goldman back with us again and sabrina sediqqi from "the gardy" is still with us. the memo tries to explain in what a lot of people's minds has been one of the most damaging moments for the president. here it is. take a listen. >> he made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it, and, in fact, 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. >> and the president's lawyers argue in that memo that because the president went on to say that he knew the investigation might be lengthened by comey
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firing his comment to lester holt has actually been mischaracterized to suggest that russia was the sole reason for the firing. jen, let me begin with you. is that a reason, do you think, that's likely to resonate with trump supporters? are they going to buy that the president, you know, even though he knew that firing comey was going to lengthen the investigation is not evidence that he was trying to obstruct justice? >> well, i think what does resonate with not only trump supporters but the american people are the powers, the executive powers granted to the president and the u.s. constitution. i think in particular that appealsed to inpent voters a lot, and i'll talk about that in a minute. the presidential powers, you know, aren't specific to one president to the next so president trump has those at his disposal. to paraphrase barack obama, you know. if you like your presidential oh, you can keep your presidential powers. they do transfer from one president to the other by way of the office. case in point -- >> the case in point is the interpretation. i don't think anyone isn't
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saying he shouldn't have presidential powers but issue is what he's asking for and what the lawyers are arguing in the memo completely relevant to what presidential powers are. i with us. finish your thought. >> if you look at bill clinton evoked presidential powers in march of 1998 in the monica lewinsky matter. he wanted two of his top aides -- he wanted the conversations to be not drawn into that investigation. that was actually struck down two months later by federal judge. that may be the case here. this may go all the way to the u.s. supreme court. and they may deny president trump. i do agree with his legal team. he has unfeddered power. he has the power to fire rod rosenstein and fire robert mueller. i believe as someone that's been in pr and politics for 15 years, the reason he's not doing so is just here purely public relatio. >> do you think he should fire them? >> i do not. if you look at a quinnipiac poll that came out today, it is interesting.
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it shows the voters approval ratings on this, it's odd that we're testing the approval rating of a special counsel. but that is the media climate we live in. but that showed that even though people do still trust by and large robert mueller, the special counsel's approval rating is down ten points. that is pretty significant. you hear democrats talk about how well thought of mueller is. it it's actually gone down 10%. that's happened at the same time president trump's approval ratings have gone up 7%. so that's a 17 point gap tlac. t that is pretty significant. the most important point is that it shows that nearly two-thirds of americans say they would not blame president trump if he fires robert mueller, in fact 5shgs 55% of the american people including independents say they would oppose a law passed by congress. >> so there is a lot to break down. i want to go to the original point she is making. the president has unfeddered power. and somehow -- i don't want to parra phrase incorrectly here. the powers that he is asking for are powers that are legitimate
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and are legally valid. we won't know that unless it is challenged. what is your legal reading of that memo? >> if you go down the logical rational behind the view that the president can do whatever he wants in terms of firing anybody for any reason, pardonening anybody for any reason, we get way off course of where our country is. and you ultimately get to the point that the president would be above the law. there is no question he has the power to fire people. but there's -- there are a lot of powers that people have in this country. but you cannot use them corruptly. and that's really what the law is designed to protect against. so it's not a function -- i don't disagree with jen. of course, he has the power to fire rosenstein. he doesn't have the power to fire mueller. but there may be an end run around it. but he could fire his cabinet. he has the executive. he can do it. but what you get to the point when he's doing it for corrupt
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purposes or -- and particularly for personal reasons, then you start running afoul of the tradition of law in this country. >> let me play you guy there's sound bite. there is the president's ultimate ace card rudy giuliani saying that he seems to have the power to pardon possibly even pardon himself. take a listen to rudy giuliani. >> do you and the president's attorneys believe the president has the power to pardon himself? >> he -- he's not but he probably does. he has no intention of pardoning himself. but he probably does. that doesn't say he can't. >> the president of the united states pardoning himself would just be unthinkable. and would lead to immediate impeachment. >> so does this seem like a road the president might consider regardless of the reprecushions? >> well, it's lard hard to say the long term strategy will be. but personal in this period of time, we've seen the president's legal team take a much more aggressive posture toward robert
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mueller and his investigation. and i think a lot of that has less to do with the legal battle ahead as much as it does fighting this battle in the court of public opinion. and so i think the point stands that is no president is above the law and would raise a great deal of questions if he were to pardon himself. i think what he is trying to do is lay the ground work to at a minimum discredit the work of rob robert mule easte robert mueller so regardless of the conclusion of the investigation, he's going to leave it to the american public to decide if they believe tha the investigation was conducted fairly. and there is polling to suggest that he is it winning that fight at least in the minds of republicans. a ma jojority of whom agree wit the president that this investigation is a witch hunt even though there is no evidence to support the president's claim as such. republicans on capitol hill i think they really hold the key as to whether or not there would be any action taken against this president by congress. so far they have, of course,
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been far more supportive of the president than they have been critical throughout this investigation. >> jen, injuyour thoughts. should the presidentardon him snefl. >> i agree with rudy jew lany. he probably has the power if you look at the powers of executive privilege from a pr stand point. i don't think that is a good idea. nor do i think we'll come to. that but we'll see. >> do you think that the president has acted in a way legally at least that he's making a case that he is above the law, that he doesn't have the time to sit for a subpoena even though he spent more time on the golf course than any other president? that's a pretty significant thing to make an argument that time is a factor when in reality he seems to have a lot of time. >> well, look, i think he does have time. and they've taken the time to give 1.4 million documents to the special counsel's office. it's interesting to see his claim why he would like to speak to president trump. mueller stated he wants to just corroborate a few details with the president. if that's the case, then that's fine. but if you can't determine if
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the president did wrong or not by looking through 1.4 political million documents, that's tough to state. >> mueller hasn't stated anything this entire investigation. that is either a leak from trump side or trum's lawyers who say what mueller has said. but he has not said anything. >> special counsel's team. >> i think everybody will acknowledge the special counsel has not leaked anything. >> so far we haven't seen. that we're running out of time. we'll be back talking about this for many months to come i have a feeling. jen, sabrina, thank you for sticking around as well. that will do it for me this week. join me back here next sunday at 5:00 p.m. to break down the major stories of the week. of course, you can reach out to me on social media and be sure to join my friend kasie hunt for kasie, d.c. then at 9:00, "headliners." but first up, it's "meet the press." powerful potential...
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justice, can pardon who he wants and perhaps even himself and can end any federal investigation if he chooses to. mr. trump claims this investigation is illegitimate. >> it's a witch hunt. that's all it is. there was no collusion with russia. >> and his biggest defender has been rudy giuliani. >> they had spies in the trump camp. this investigation never should have taken place in the first place. >> there was no collusion with the russians. in a moment, i'll ask giuliani about that legal strategy, the circumstances surrounding the firing of fbi director james comey and whether the president ever


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