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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  June 19, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT

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washington anchor for bbc world news america, catty kay, and nbc news chill correspondent and host of kasie d.c. on nbc, kasie hunt. and pulitzer prize winning author and historian, author of "the soul of america" jon meachum will join news a morning. joe has the morning off. willie and i are here and we want to get to a lot this morning. there's so much to cover. more and more republicans speaking out finally against president trump's policy of separating migrant families at the southern border. kasie hunt will tell us what's happening on capitol hill. and attorney general jeff sessions pushing back against those who are drawing comparisons to nazi germany. arguing that the nazis were keeping jews from leaving the country. so we'll have that sound for you
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in a little bit. we appreciate his explanation as to why that parallel doesn't work. but first we want to get into the performance we saw yesterday by homeland security kirstjen nielsen. >> i would love to see if i can help explain some of what's going on and give you some of the facts. >> so what you're about to hear are not facts. it's actually deceit, it feels a lot like trusted truth and evasionnd some lies. >> ms-13 have lie lated our borders and gained a deadly foothold within the united states. >> yeah. >> problem is, this 2-year-old girl is not a member of ms-13. >> it is not possible as a matter of law to detain and remove whole family units. >> yeah. it's actually not the law. it's donald trump's policy. and it is happening, children are being separated from their families. reporters like jacob soberov and
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gadi schwartz and mariana hortensia have been showing us the horrific facts. families are being torn apart. who in america could do this? >> congress and the courts created this problem and congress alone can fix it. >> i'm sorry, secretary nielson, you're incorrect. this is not the case. but don't listen to me. take it from senator susan collins. >> that's amazing that she said that. >> yeah. keep on going, madam secretary. because the world is watching and listening to you. >> this administration did not create a policy of separating families at the border. >> it appears the attorney general disagrees with you. and you work for the same commander-in-chief. it's his policy. >> if you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. and that child may be separated from you. as required by law.
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>> all of you appear to be failing the country. you said there's no policy to separate families? jeff sessions says there is. why not take another crack at it again, the world is watching, you're on the record. go. >> we will separate those who claim to be a parent and child. >> oh, so you do separate families. those who claim to be a parent and child. why did you tweet on sunday, quote, we do not have a policy of separating families? >> parents can still communicate with their children through phone calls and video conferencing. okay. with a baby? maybe an infant? represented from her mother's arms? that's comforting from you. besides, nbc news reports that it's exceedingly rare for parents to be able to call their children in this situation, if it happens at all. >> members of congress of the democratic side say that you're using children as a lever to try to get them to take legislative action. what do you say to that?
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>> i say that's a very cowardly response. >> it is cowardly to do that. speaking of by the way the world is watching and you're on the record, for history to remember, forever. here's your boss, the president. >> the democrats can come to us as they actually are, in all fairness, we are talking to them. and they can change the whole border security. we need a wall. >> okay. so if the democrats give the president his border wall, this policy stops? that actually makes them pawns. that makes them leverage. madam secretary, you seem extremely confused. >> have you seen the photos of children in cages? >> some have referred to them as cages, but keep in mind this is a great big warehouse facility where they built walls out of chain-link fences. >> thanks trump tv. so not cagings judgmecages, jus
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of chain-link fences. >> it's not by your definition in any way cruel? >> it's not a policy. >> you seem to struggle on that one. and you didn't answer the question. let me help you out. ripping children from their parents is cruel. it's inhumane and it's weakening our nation's standing around the world. nbc's kristen welker tried to ask you a very simple question. >> why is the government only releasing images of the boys being held? where are the girls? where are the young toddlers? >> i'm not familiar with those particular images. >> you don't know? you're not familiar with the pictures the government released under your authority? kristen welker, please continue. >> you're saying that they are being cared for. so how do you make that claim if you don't know where they are?
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>> it's not that i don't know where they are. i'm saying the vast majority of children are held by health and human services. >> so where are the girls? where are the toddlers? kristen asked about the photos. >> released by your department. that have been aired all over national television throughout the day. the kids being held in the cages, we've only seen the boys. >> i will look into that. i'm not aware that there's another picture. >> you'll look into it. the secretary of homeland security doesn't know where they are, but she will look into it. >> if you're seeking asylum go to a port of entry. >> people are being turned away from ports of entry. >> that is incorrect. we have limited resources, we will tell people that come to the border, they need to come back. >> okay, so we're incorrect. people who are fleeing for their lives need to come back at a more convenient time for the government. >> are you intending for parents
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to be separated from their children? are you intending to send a message? >> i find that offensive. no, why would i ever create a policy that purposely does that? >> then i think you think jeff sessions is offensive? cue the a.g. >> hopefully people will get the message and come through the border at the port of entry and not break, break across the border unlawfully. >> just asked white house adviser steven miller, quote, the message is that no one is exempt from immigration law. >> will it continue to require the separation of parents from their children until the president gets exactly what he wants? >> if congress closes the loopholes, many of which are closed in the two bills we hope are taken up this week by the house, then they close loopholes and the families will stay together throughout the
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proceedings. thank you. >> madam secretary! madam secretary! do you believe the policy is a deterrent? >> so they are pawns. since the dhs secretary was so insure of her information, so insure of where this situation came from. so insure of whether it was a policy or a law, so insure of even the location of the girls and toddlers, and so insure as to whether or not this was abusive or not -- maybe this will help. nbc news cannot independently verify these recordings' authenticity, here's the sound of children being torn from their families. this is what it sounds like. [ children crying ] [ children crying ]
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>> i have her number memorized. >> soil >>, so, willie that was the department of homeland security trying to comment on this policy yesterday. >> she's wrong that this is about democrats, this is about congress. this is a policy. we've said it a million times over the last couple of weeks. this is a policy that the trump administration could with a red line eliminate this morning. the president could do that, he could stop this. the other thing we should be clear about is that this is intentional. this is about deterrence. as you just pointed out, jeff sessions said so out loud. steven miller said so out loud. time and again you ask republicans, you say why are you doing this? the phrase i her hear is that it's a tough deterrent. this is premeditated intentional policy. the idea that it's cooked up by democrats or that congress'
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fault is totally false. we saw aen increasing number of republicans speaking out yesterday against president trump's policy of separating families at the border, kansas senator pat roberts said while i firmly support enforcing our immigration laws i'm against using parental separation as a deterrent to illegal immigration. my concern first and foremost is protection of the children. senator orrin hatch of utah, another republican said that a policy that leads to separating children from their families is wrong. the white house can fix it if it wants to and senator john mccain tweeted the administration's current familiarcy separation policy is an affront to the decency of the american people and contrary to the principles and values upon which our nation was founded. the administration has the power to rescind this policy, it should do so now. junior members speaking out, senator ben sasse posting to facebook. this is wrong, american does not take children hostage, period.
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the president should immediately end this family separation policy. last night senator ted cruz introduced legislation for faster deportations and asylum processing and to keep families together in the process. >> all of us who are seeing these images of children being pulled away from moms and dads in tears, we're horrified. this has to stop. kids need their moms and dads. and we can keep the families together while these cases are pending. >> so kasie hunt. you've been covering this very closely. senator ted cruz has proposed detailed legislation. double the numbers of federal immigration judges. speed up this process. build more facilities so that families can be kept together while they're awaiting their hearing before a judge. is there real movement on republicans, on capitol hill? we know democrats led by dianne feinstein have introduced legislation and got 49 senators behind it. but what about republicans? are they willing to push it over the top? >> i think they are. all signs are pointing to nearly
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universal outrage, shock and horror over what is unfolding and i think, you know many of the comments that were made by republicans yesterday came out even before that leaked audio tape. which i think really came across as an emotional punch in the gut. we've been seeing some of these still pictures, we haven't been able to see independent video. most of the video that we're seeing from inside these facilities has been hand-out video from the government. i think there's still a lot of questions about how this process might play out on capitol hill over the course of the next week. you already have several competing proposals to try to end this policy from republicans. the house, keep in mind, we talk about this quote-unquote compromise proposal in the house that we're expecting to see voeed on on thursday. that's a compromise that's strktly among republicans and there's still a lot of questions
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about whether it would include language about whether it would end this policy. i do think that the reality is you saw more and more republicans come out and say this -- the president could end this with a phone call. the immigration policy process on capitol hill has been a mess for i'm pretty sure it's fair to say decades at this point. the idea that you know by august nbc news is reporting there could be 20,000 children being held by the u.s. government, 20,000 is not inconceivable that trying to put something like this through congress could take that long. are we willing to as a country, do that? i think you're going to see more republicans say no. >> well former first ladies are joining the chorus of people speaking out against the separation of parents and children at the u.s./mexico border. rosalind carter released a
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statement saying the practice and policy today of removing children from their parents' care at our border is disgraceful and a shame to our country. laura bush who lives in a border state wrote an op-ed, she said i appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. it is immoral. and it breaks my heart. >> michelle obama tweeted out laura bush's column adding quote sometimes truth transcends party. i think that might be where we're at today. we're going to have to ask democrats and republicans whether they want to be with truth, or party. especially republicans. and at an event in new york city yesterday hillary clinton harshly criticized her political rivals' zero tolerance policy. she gave her own interpretation of a bible verse related to the suffering of migrant children at the border. >> i've studied the bible, both
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the old and the new testament and what is being done using the name of religion, is contrary to everything i was ever taught. jesus said -- suffer the little children unto me, he did not say let the children suffer. >> current first lady melania trump really did something rather remarkable. appearing to disagree with her husband's controversial policy. and as we mentioned yesterday, a statement shared by her spokesperson reads, mrs. trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. she believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart. that would include policies. katty kay, first of all the former first ladies banding
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together was a statement in itself. we are beginning to see republicans break. i'm still appalled that we're standing here at this moment that this is an argument. that this is even an issue. and i thought that the department of homeland security's performance yesterday was staggering. >> yes, she didn't seem to get the facts very straight and it was good that you pointed all of that out. at the beginning of the program. this is a story that everybody is watching around the world and that people here increasingly are watching from both sides of the aisle. the numbers do still show that when it comes to the republican party, attitudes to this issue of separating children from their parents are very different from the rest of the country. you poll the country by and large and a majority of people don't like this policy. and you poll the republican party and more republicans support separating children from their parents, by about 20
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points so president trump is still firmly tacking to the idea that he has popular support in his own party for this. and that's what's going to make it harder for him to pick up the phone. he hates the idea that he's going to get brow-beaten into picking up the phone and surrender a policy that he believes is essential to his base. when he came down the escalator and announced his candidacy three years ago, what did he do? he hit really hard on the issue of immigration. he still thinks this is where he needs to be. so far, the party is with him on that. >> sadly. realistically, this is the american story now. and this is ours. >> increasingly the european story, too. >> this is our story. the story of children being taken hostage. on a hot texas landscape. held in cages, away from their parents, being used as pauls to get money. to build a wall, by a republican party whose policy is to
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separate them from their families. from their mothers and their fathers, that's our story. in america today. it's up to the people of america and the people who represent them in congress to decide whether that's the story they want to go with. and politically, michael, i would estimate, think, guess, that it's political malpractice. with a booming economy, with no matter what you think of what took place in singapore, a president meeting with the north korean dictator to resolve some nuclear issues and the threat of war, they're not concentrating on that. they're being branded now, with these pictures that every american is seeing. the pictures now coming with a sound track of children crying and that's what they're defending rather than their record which some people would approve of. >> that is the most stunning part of this for me. there are some very good things.
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that this administration and republicans can crow a little bit about. they can talk about the tax cuts and the economy and how steady it has been on its growth. even on the foreign policy front. you may disagree about how we got here. we're in this new space with north korea and a lot of the world partners, they're a little bit aback. there's a space where conversations are going. that's not the focus now, that's not the image of this administration and of the party that is pushing a lot of this. these images, these sounds are, going to follow the republicans into the fall. i hope don't think we're going to get pass this, even if we pass an immigration bill, that this is not going to be an image. because your opening point is the key point this now, is who we are this is what the republican party is say week are. we are a country that looks at
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the lady standing in new york harbor and says, yeah, whatever, you know. we're going to do this differently. it's not about giving us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. what this policy is centered around is taking those seeking asylum, all right? up to this point was not a problem. you could do that, you go to the port of entry, can you do that, not an issue. they've moved it into a spats where they've criminalized that. that's tra triggers the separation. it's not the act of seeking asylum. it's how the government interprets that and they're interpreting it in a way to take your kids away from you. >> you know one of the things, you have young children. yeah. >> you're a mother, you're a father. the damage done to a young child's brain four, five years of age. the memory retention that they will have of being separated from their mother or their father, the psychic cost of
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that -- is untold. we don't know. we can't play that out. we do not know. but it's there. it's there. i mean can you imagine taking your kids, anyone's kids, going to france or germany, getting off the plane, and at customs as you go through customs, they take your child from you? that's what's happening. that's what's happening. and people who are not bilingual, having travelled from honduras or guatemala. a terribly dangerous, torturous path. arriving at the united states of america, being confronted by some large human being, just doing their job, just doing their job, not understanding what they're saying to them, your 2-year-old is gone. >> let's go down to the border. joining us from mcallen, texas. msnbc correspondent mariana hortensia. you've talked to mother who is have been separated from their
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children at the border, what have you been seeing down there? >> this is a completely new thing to this administration. it did not happen during the obama administration. it's these mother who is cross the border illegally with their children, fleeing those extremely high levels of violence in central america that you guys were just discussing and then they're not being prosecuted. because zero tolerance isn't still operating at 100% capacity here at the border. but they're still being separated from their children. the ones older than eight inside facilities like the one behind me. that again, is completely new. we're trying to understand why it's happening. these mothers separated from their kids for several days. and when you begin to try to understand the psychological trauma, the impact on these kids and you talk to them, the ones that have been separated for four, five days, they start sobbing immediately when they recount the stories of separation. so it gives you a window as to what these other thousands of
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kids were going through when they endure longer periods of separation. i want to play a little bit of my conversation with a mother, christina, who was separated from her 10-year-old and her 16-year-old. let's listen. >> if you would have known it was a possibility that they would have been separated from you, would you have come? >> no. no, i wouldn't have come. it's ugly to be separated from your kids without knowing what is going to become of them. many times what we do is for the good of our children, but you have to think about it. because you suffer a lot on the journey here. and you think that it's over when you get here. but once you are detained here, that's where -- the most painful part of the journey begins. >> it took that family 17 days to make it to the u.s. southern
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border and as you guys were talking about, you know that little boy was being recruited by gangs in ill salvador. the 16-year-old girl was kidnapped for four days, that's the violence that these already traumatized children are fleeing from, only to be separated from their parents here. guys? >> mariana, we've heard reporting from inside these detention facilities about what it's like for the kids and we've heard stories of the older children looking after the younger children they don't know. somebody they just met inside a detention facility. 16-year-olds, changing the diapers of babies. can you paint a picture at all to the extent you're able to report, and see, and hear and get stories from the people who have been inside? i've only been able to speak to children who have been separated from their parents for these short periods of time. so four, five days. parents who were not prosecuted, but it is through the eyes of the kids that you can start to
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sense or get a sense, as to what the children are going through. kids telling me things from i'm sleeping on the floor. i was freezing and i had to wrap myself in these tinfoil blankets. i depart like the food. i didn't understand what the agents were telling me. kids asking immigration agents, when will i see my mother again? kids seeing their family through these cages. extremely traumatic experiences. almost all of the kids, i've spoken to 16-year-olds, they were crying, tearing up, sobbing. when you ask them about this. this only went on for about five, six days, you can imagine what these prolonged separations will do in the long-term trauma that it will cause these kids. >> mariana hortensio, along the mexico/california border. president trump with a phone call could end that. don't take it from us, take it
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from republicans on capitol hill who have been saying it all day yesterday. >> up next, we hear from jon meachum. how this chapter in our nation's history factors into the soul of america. other big stories this morning, president trump criticizes robert mueller by name. plus the director of the fbi's claim disputes trump's claim that the russia investigation is a witch hunt.
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it's a wall between that america and his america. there's that. the second one is, which is sort of what i guess general sessions, who has gone from being a biblical scholar to his
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story in a week. is the idea that this is like the internment camps in the japanese-american internment camps, mrs. bush in her powerful op-ed mentioned that as well. i would never defend what franklin roosevelt and earl warren who was the attorney general at the time, who was part of that, did. but i think one piece of context is important to shed light on. president roosevelt and attorney general warren were reacting after we had been attacked and there was an hysteria going on. a real war afoot. part of what's happening here is that president trump, general sessions, secretary nielson and others, are creating or trying to create a hysteria about almost a wartime hysteria, acting as though we are under
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attack. trump said yesterday a country without borders is no country. where i come from the way you define a nation is not about how you keep people out, but how you treat your, you treat the country itself. you treat the rest of the world. st. augustin once said the definition of a nation was a multitude of rational beings united by the common objects of their love and the great thing about the american experiment is what we have loved in common is the idea of fair play. the best way to guarantee fair play for me is to guarantee it for you. so i think we're in this kind of elective crisis, caused by the president's policy, in order to appeal to the base with racially motivated actions and attacks on immigrants. the third, quickly, is this is a lot more like dred scott america, we are treating people as less than human. we're in precivil war mindset
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about people. and we know how that turned out. we just -- this is a great moment, a marvelous moment for republican senators in particular to stand up and say -- we're going to heed our better angels and not follow this man any more. >> jon, can you recall any moment in history when a president of the united states has used the premise of fear, apart from wartime, have used the premise of fear to drive a policy aimed at making sure that republican elected officials and a huge constituency of his, or a portion of this country, would react to something aimed at the "other." aimed at the "alien." aimed at the immigrant. and it's based rooted in fear? >> i think we have to go all the way back to the years after
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president lincoln's tragic assassination. this is like the early days of reconstruction, where andrew johnson, a democrat from the south had been put on the ticket with linken in 1864 to broaden the wartime appeal. where he issued what the historian eric phoner once called the most racist state paper in american history. he talked about how the african race was congenitally incapable of self-government. of civil society. what johnson was doing was becoming an important architect of white supremacy. and trying to undo the natural verdict of the civil war. he opposed the 14th amendment. he opposed the 15th amendment. he believed he had an a kind of inchoate connection to the common man. any of this sound familiar? >> jon meachum.
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crystallizing one parallel that we find in history. usually there's no parallel because it's all so unprecedented. we are beginning to find historic parallels and they are hideous. still ahead, a bit of redecorating in the west wing. i remember when joe and i went to the white house and all of these pictures in the west wing were of crowd size and donald trump was obsessing about his crowd size. we'll explain these pictures, next on "morning joe." oh, milk. another breakfast, another dilemma. am i willing to pay the price for loving you? you'll make my morning, but ruin my day. complicated relationship with milk? pour on the lactaid. it's delicious 100% real milk, just without that annoying lactose. mmm, that's good.
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these photos which include president trump hosting a top north korean official at the white house and trump meeting with kim jong un, have replaced photos of trump with france's emmanuel macron. joining us now, national security correspondent for "the new york times" david sanger. his new book entitled "the perfect weapon: war, sabotage and fear in the cyber age" is out today. the pictures in the west wing are fairly symbolic about a lot of what happened at the
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singapore summit. including the president seeming to be a little obsessed with kim jong un's ability to have influence over his people. i guess with an iron fist. can we not make that deduction, given the things that he said? >> he clearly likes dictators. from duterte to -- >> do you think he would prefer to be one? >> you could certainly deduce that he would like it if everybody fell in line and explained how wonderful everything he did was. >> that would be a dictator. >> could be. or at least somebody who with tendencies of constant approval. you know, as i think you've seen from the reaction on the, in the way the children being separated from parents, you wouldn't see in north korea the level of dissent you've just seen playing out on tv, that's one very big difference. the photographs are remarkable. usually you mix in your allies
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with your moments of peace-making you know in clinton's time you would walk into the white house and there would be pictures of that great moment where he on a broad israelis and palestinians together very briefly. you've often seen, you know tense meetings with the chinese and so forth. but i've never seen a wall that basically showed the dictator, probably the harshest dictator in human history now in office, all across the west wing. >> america seems to be shedding allies rather rapidly at the moment. maybe there aren't too many pictures of trump with allies that he could put on the wall. >> i'm sure after the visit to britain in july -- that the wall is going to change. kim jong un is going to come down and it's going to be all him and theresa may. >> david, were you in singapore covering the summit. what was the reaction from the chinese side, from the north korean side? we know that the north koreans have viewed this domestically as a victory for the dear leader
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and calling donald trump a dear leader himself. what does china think about this? >> the chinese were sort of scarce in singapore. they weren't right at it they were clearly the big winners here, willie. what the chinese wanted was the status quo. they wanted to make sure that donald trump didn't turn around and bomb north korea, threaten the regime and bring american and south korean forces right up to their level. instead, president is talking about canceling military exercises, well those military exercises drive the chinese crazy. maybe pulling troops out at some point. i mean this is the chinese, you know, the he always talks about the china dream. you're seeing the china dream right there. >> by the way yesterday the pentagon announced the military exercises were suspended. the korean/american exercises for august have been suspended. >> the president's argument, they cost too much. >> the pentagon is acutely aware of cyberweapons, apparently john
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bolton is not. he dismissed cyberweapons assistant or whatever from the national security council. so david, cyberwarfare and cyberweapons, let's just take a couple of things that americans take for granted. you go to the atm machine, money comes out and you flip a switch and the lights come on. cyberwarfare, too many nation or a lot of nations have the ability to disrupt american life. are we paying enough attention to this? >> we're not, it's the fundamental of our time in some ways. because it is the way that nations have turned to, to find a short of war way, of disrupting their adversaries, they're looking for ways that will not bring about a big military response. this is the way to do it with cyberweapons, you can dial it up, you can dial it down. it's unlike nuclear weapons, not
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as big an effect. much more targeted, much harder to figure out where it's coming from. >> it can be much more devastating to the country's security. >> and to the psychology of you know -- you get into that autonomous car that you've just bought and think it's going to take you to the supermarket, not over the cliff. >> katty, until recently the assumption had been when it came to the great cyber battle between china and ut states, the united states had the know-how and analysis, and the chinese were good at copying. over the last six months i'm hearing that now the chinese are ahead of america, is that what you're hearing? >> well in a.i. they're putting in a huge investment. in many other fundamental technologies, including autonomous vehicles, they're putting in a huge investment. in their cyberwarfare capability, they're putting in a big invemgt. one of the big arguments in the book is we are failing to put together a system of deterrence,
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akin to what we had in the nuclear age. because it's far harder to deter cyber actors than it is nuclear actors. because everybody can use cyber. states can use it, criminals can use it, teenagers can use it. so the concept here of trying to figure out how we are going to deter these attacks is central. and in the russia case, we discovered of course, that president obama was unwilling to go push back at president putin, because he was fearful that putin would escalate by going after the election machines on election day. so the assumption in the white house that came through in many of the interviews i did is don't worry, hillary is going to win, we'll sanction putin after that. she'll pick up the ball and continue the sanctions. >> david sanger, thank you. the book is "the perfect weapon: war, sabotage and fear in the
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cyberage." coming up, democratic congressman jim himes explains why he opposes the two gop bills that could end the separation policy. and protect dreamers, he'll be on set. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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it's interesting he doesn't get put up at the press briefing since this is kind of his thing. seems like women have to mop it up. but i could be wrong about that. i don't know it feels -- >> i saw you tweeting that, mika. there's something about it. >> there seems to be something about it. but not ivanka ever. >> has she spoken in the last couple days? >> i haven't seen a tweet from her or anything. >> too bad. love to hear about it. despite the backlash over
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the family's separation policy, politico reports white house senior policy adviser stephen miller is planning additional crackdowns before the november midterms. among the ideas reportedly being considered, a new rule that immigration advocates worry could end limits on the time migrant children can be kept in government custody according to a half dozen current and former administration officials and republicans close to the white house. other ideas reportedly include collecting biometric data from visitors of certain countries, tightening rules on student visas and exchange programs and limiting visas for temporary agricultural workers. according to politico, miller wants to make sure the president can show he's doing something on border patrol before voters make their midterm decisions. michael steele, do you think at some point this will actually even get to the base as perhaps
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a little too much or is this red meat exactly what they want? >> i think it's more the red meat that they want and i was struck by the interview with the mother who when asked would you do this if you knew your child would be separated in that click was "i wouldn't have come." that's the whole point. they want that clip. that's the soundbite that defines this. >> that defines who we are. >> that defines who we are. so as far as the administration is concerned, this is working. this is exactly right and so for the base, there's no need to move off of this. but here's the rub, there's the rest of the country. and what i'm curious about is how the rest of the country outside of that 35%, 42%, whatever that number is comes to a collective understanding to your point, mika, of this is who we are and ask themselves is this who i am and can i get behind this supported administration that views children this way, that views
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families this way. because, again, this is coming from the party that was pro-family. remember how we used to beat people up all the time on this issue about being pro-family and the fact that other policies of other administrations did not respect the family and the rights of the family to keep the family together? now we here in the business of tearing that piece of paper up and writing a new contract that says something very different about the kind of america we are. >> the kind of america that we are, jon meacham, and how would one look at this in history and describe what this moment means about who we are, especially if it continues? >> i think what's basically happening is we are weaponizing -- the administration is weapon sizing immigrati immigrati immigration. and that may not be a new insight but the designation, almost explicit, of refugees,
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their children, as enemy combatants, this is how you treat enemy combatants, not refuge refugees it seems to me 35% of the country is unreachable on issues like this. that is joe mccarthy's approval rating after the army mccarthy hearings. so just let's not look for a unanimous opinion, let's not look for a perfect union. the whole goal here is a more perfect one and the good news is if 60%, 65% of the country says we don't want to treat refugees as if they're assaulting our country then -- and we have a moment with the midterms to send a very powerful message and so there is a democratic -- lower case "d" way forward. there's a clear choice here. it's not as though anybody going to vote for a democrat or republican in november is fuzzy about where the two parties stand and seems to me that is a
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great moment for everyone to actually think for themselves, not simply to follow their tribal leader. so look at these images, listen to the audio, read up on it and decide, who do you want to be. >> jon meacham, thank you very much. coming up, the "new york times" peter baker weighs in on the significance of all living first ladies speaking out against the trump administration's family separation policy. plus, senator maisie hirono says it's like the internment of japanese americans all over again. the hawaii democrat joins us live from capitol hill. "morning joe" is coming right back. ♪ come fly with me let's fly, let's fly away ♪ ♪ just say the words ♪ and we'll beat the birds down to acapulco bay ♪ ♪ it's perfect for a flying honeymoon they say ♪
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>> are you intending for parents to be separated from their children? are you intending to send a message? >> i find that offensive. no. because why would i ever create a policy that purposely does that? >> hopefully people will get the message and come through the border at the port of entry and not break across the border unlawfully. >> so homeland security secretary, you might want to meet the attorney general. you both might want to talk at some point about your conflicting view points on the cruel policy of separating parents from their children. welcome back to "morning joe," it's tuesday, june 19. still with us, we have msnbc contributor mike barnicle.
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washington anchor for bbc world news america katty kay. former chair of the republican national committee, michael steele. nbc news capitol hill correspondent and host of "kasie dc" on msnbc, kasie hunt. and joining the conversation, chief white house correspondent for the "new york times," peter baker. good to have you on board. we've been following the response around the country to this policy separating children from their families at the border and especially the reaction from the former and present first lady. peter baker, what's your take on where this is heading? because it seems like this might be a line that people don't want to cross and maybe even some republicans, more republicans. >> you mentioned the first lady. the one that strikes you the most, of course, is laura bush who the last republican first lady doesn't speak out very often on domestic issues.
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i recall her talking about afghanistan since they left office because that's an area where she has championed women's issues but for the most part i can't remember another time she's weighed in on a domestic issue in the ten years since they left the white house. the way she phrased it was not only particularly strong in terms of using the word cruel and breaking her heart and so forth and the comparison to the japanese internment camps, she laid it directly at the feet of the administration, she wasn't using this phrase that melania trump used which both sides need to come together. laura bush said this is a result of a policy, a zero tolerance policy, be i the administration not buying into the idea that it's a result of a political stalemate on capitol hill. you do see a lot of republicans very uncomfortable about this. this is not what they would normally choose to lay down on. this is not the kind of policy they want to be associated with, the pictures, the sound of that audio, all these things are not politically comfortable for
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anybody. not comfortable for a lot of parents regardless of politics. so you see the president go to the hill today, he'll meet with house republicans, we'll see how they respond to him. peter, a lot of people were surprised to see melania trump, you mentioned her statement a couple days ago in her own way speaking out against what was happening right down the hallway with her husband talking about this needed to be a country that has heart saying she didn't like seeing the separation of families, unusual for a first lady. not totally explicitly coming out against the policy but letting it be known that she doesn't like what she's seeing on television, she doesn't like what her husband is doing. do you have any sense from your reporting about how that came together and the decision to put out that statement? >> well, what her office says is that statement was put out in response to questions by reporters who were asking for what was her position. if you look at the statement, i think it's a very carefully-worded statement. what she says there about i hate to see families separated is the wording the president himself used on friday in his
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conversation with reporters on the lawn and his appearance on fox and friends and when she says both sides need to come together she's echoing her husband's point of view which is all about this is about democrats not agree fog legislation instead of this is a policy that can be changed tonight if my husband were to call the dhs and say stop doing this. the argument that the administration has been doing is they're simply enforcing the law but there is a matter of discretion here, a discretion they decided to put in place with a zero-tolerance policy. as you pointed out, some of them think this is a message sending vehicle, a way to deter in effect people from coming over the border, a conscious policy so when melania trump says both sides need to come together it's adopting the president's view that this is about lack of agreement by the democrats. >> but mike she could have done what she normally does which is to say nothing. it was remarkable she said anything at all. >> that's the word, remarkable, remarkable when you heard from melania trump when she's
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relatively silent on almost everything else. but peter could you provide us with a verbal analysis the way you do in the "times" on the current situation? we have a would have staff severely diminished because of people leaving. we have a president seemingly emboldened by this, we have a weakened white house staff, not that john kelly within an adherent for a more sensible policy but he's not listened to and you have a president of the united states basically seemingly operating the way he did when he was a private businessman on trump tower all on his own instinct. and yet the irony is here, that he's surrounded today with pictures and sound -- horrific pictures, excruciatingly painful sounds to hear of children crying -- on television, a medium that is partially
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responsible, maybe greatly responsible for him being where he is today. do you think he takes any account of the power in of the medium in this case? >> you're right, he is a television entertainer, somebody who understands the power of pictures, the power of sound. but i think he's dug in. he has gotten himself worked up by the criticism. the fact people are piling on makes him dig in stronger. any traditional politician, any traditional president would have been beating a hasty retreat at this point. this is not the kind of thing most white houses want to spend their days defending. you saw sarah sanders postpone her briefing until the dhs secretary kirstjen nielsen could come and defend it herself, somebody willing to throw herself on the grenade, if you will, of a tough briefing so this is a president not
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following the advice that the more mainstream moderate republicans have been offering him. he feels liberated after his first year. he felt he listened too much to the voices of his team, the rex tillersons are gone. he think this is a winning issue, an important issue. if you hear people around him, they say this is not just a 51-49 issue, they say this is a 80% 90% issue with their base. >> kasie hunt, it does appear more republicans might be breaking away or finding a voice. we know there are a few who have been able to stand up to this president and say what the difference is between right and wrong. are we seeing the numbers growing? >> i think as this continues to dominate the headlines as we are seeing more of these pictures, you have seen a marked increase just over the last 24 hours. this exploded over the weekend
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and i think congress is back today or the house is, the senate came back late last night. the president is going to be meeting with all of them as peter said. i think there is increasing pressure to do something about this. there wasn't particularly strong language about ending family separations in the house quote/unquote compromise proposal initially. it sounds like there are efforts under way to make that stronger but, again, i want to understand score the administration pointing the finger at congress here. peter is exactly right. this is a policy that this administration had the ability to take on under the current law. it was an option they decided they were going to do. it was an option that was not taken by the obama administration and relying on the legislative process to try and fix this is something that means that we'll be seeing this continue and one other point --
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and this was raised in that politico story that you just covered right before the top of 7:00, and that is you have to understand that this is actually a systemic effort on the part of the trump administration that is more than just this one policy change sessions announced, they are trying to change the rules around holding these children. there is a court precedent says they're only allowed to be kept in dhs custody for five days. the administration wants to change that language to say that they could potentially be held indefinitely so there are efforts under way to make what is already a heart wrenching crisis worse. >> in trying to defend his family separation policy, donald trump turned his attention to germany. the president tweeted that the migrant crisis in germany has, quote -- let's just say this. crime in germany way up. wow. well, that's actually false. data from 2017 shows the lowest level of crime in germany in a
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quarter century. violent crime is down almost 2.5% over the previous year and total crime is down more than 5%. after that false claim, the president took a more simple approach tweeting, change the laws in all caps. he then expanded on that. once again blaming democrats for, quote, being weak and ineffective with border security, or -- b-o-a-r-d-e-r -- and crime. >> if the democrats would sit down instead of obstructing, we could have something done very quickly, we could have an immigration bill, we could have child separation. we're stuck with these horrible laws, we have the first immigration laws in the entire world. nobody has such sad, such bad, and actually in many cases such
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horrible and tough. you see about child separation, you see what's going on there. >> we'll save that for later, the secretary of transportation right there. joining us from capitol hill, democratic senator mazie hirono from hawaii. senator, thank you for being on today. you have made a parallel of what this looks like compared to dark stages in our history. do you stand by that parallel and what do you think this is doing to the fabric of our nation? >> it was a parallel that was raised by laura bush and i certainly agree with her. when you think about 120,000 japanese americans who were not interned, i say they were incarcerated because they were behind barbed wire with armed guards so what we're doing the little children, tearing them from their parents' arms is very askin to what happened, i would say, to japanese americans and very dark period of our history
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and so the president continues, mika, to play games with people's lives to get what he wants whether it's the 800,000 daca participants or now the little children at our borders to get what he wants and then -- par for the course -- when he can't come up with a rational explanation he lies about it or blames the democrats or both. he never takes responsibility for the harm that he causes. >> katie kay? >> senator, i was wondering, most of your democrats clearly -- the president is not just holding these children as leverage, he's also in a sense holding democrats in congress as leverage and we'll see whether him repeating that this is the democrats' fault as he are did yesterday again starts to become something that people believe around the country even though it clearly isn't, this is his policy. what are you and your democrats -- democratic colleagues saying about how you can retaliate against this
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legislatively. >> it's not just the democrats but more republicans are coming forward to say that it's all on the president. he can change this policy, this practice right now. it doesn't have to be this way and for him to continue to put all the blame on democrats, that's his usual practice, the republicans are coming forward finally and i'm glad and i want more of them to step up to say this is not what our country stands for. we don't stand for tearing apart children from their parents. and i just want to mention that i am an immigrant and when my brother brought me here i was seven years old, she was our sole support, i didn't have a father, she was working all day and my brother and i would wait for her at the bus stop because we were latch key kids and i think to myself we come to this country not having anything, i didn't speak english at all and i just put myself in the shoes of these kids.
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if my mother was taken away from me, i don't know what would have happened to me and my brothers. >> senator, it's willie geist. do you feel among your republican colleagues in the senate a move to your position on this one particular issue of family separation? we saw ted cruz proposing legislation that would go pretty far to stop this pretty quickly. doubling the number of federal immigration judges, creating new temporary shelters where parents and kids could be housing together while they await their hearings. . will there be a move on this quickly or are some people slow walking this? >> i think so but there are a lot of republicans on the house side that slow walks all of this and they really like what the president is doing and you know we just heard that there may be more tougher immigration policies coming down the pike from the likes of stephen miller, to me, stephen willer is like iago whispering in the
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president's ear along with john kelly. these people are totally anti-immigrant. and for people like ted cruz and orrin hatch to come forward to finally say this is not good, the image of children crying for their mommies and daddies, how does that not tug all of our hearts regardless of what political stripe we are. >> senator, you tweeted yesterday "every american this administration who lies for donald trump should resign." who do you include on that list? >> well, let's start with the secretary of homeland security. she was propertied forward to put some kind of a nice frame to this, calling it not a policy. that's a lie. i would say sarah huckabee sanders lies on a regular basis. all the people around the president who lie for him in order to keep their jobs, they have sold their souls. i would welcome their resignation resignations.
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>> that was as well put as i've ever heard it. they have sold their souls. thank you so much senator mazie hirono. >> thank you, aloha. >> thank you for being on. we're going to read this editorial from the "new york times." "watching president trump blame democrats for his administration's inhumane practice of snatching immigrant children from their parents at the border evokes nothing so much as an abusive husband blaming his wife for the beatings he delivers. why do you make me do this? i hate doing this? if you'd only be reasonable and listen to me things would haven't to be this way. maintaining checks and balances can be tricky with any president but that's especially true when a commander in chief has authoritarian impulses as made evident by his slavering over such brutal autocrats as vladimir putin and kim jong-un.
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mr. trump believes effective leadership is about crushing anyone who stands in your way, collateral damage be damned if lawmakers aren't willing to stand up to him in a case where justice and public sentiment are so clearly on their side they might as well hand him the keys to the capitol right now." and peter baker, as senathe sen put it, they have sold their souls. and i'll leave your opinion on the policy and on them aside but the fact is that these people are lying for a president who clearly has lied and showed racist and authoritarian tendencies since day one. what's your take on not just the op-ed but what the senator had to say. >> well, this is the kind of conversation you wouldn't be having in a different type of administration, no question about it, republican or democrat. this is not even a partisan
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thing. republican administrations in the past have not endorsed this kind of approach and when they did, certainly wouldn't have retreated from it -- would have retreated from it because it comes across as inhumane. george w. bush talked in his administration about the value of immigration and wanting to find a solution to the immigration issue that was both tough on security as well as humane to the people who have come here illegally. ronald reagan signed the last immigration reform package when he was president, it was called amnesty at the time. they didn't flinch that word. so this is a different era. and there's a reason why we're in this era. it's because there's a great frustration on the part of a lot of people with the situation that gave rise to president trump. that sustained president trump. he is responding to a genuine sentiment among some people in the population at the same time
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he's fanning the flames by exon
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the president from any question of collusion with the russians? it says nothing one way or the other? is that correct? >> we did not look into collusion questions. >> 52% believe the special counsel's investigation should continue, that's down from 62% support a year ago while 45% now believe it should be ended. 33% said that last year. joining us now, a member of the house intelligence committee, democratic congressman jim himes of connecticut. good to have you on this morning. >> good morning. >> it does feel like there's a pat we were this president, i'll say it so you don't have to, but you might agree, that every time it feels like the mueller probe
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is closing in or as i often tweet at him squeezing in on him, just squeezing him, that he does something ridiculous and offensive and often the go to is immigration. it's interesting that paul manafort went to jail on friday and today here we are. >> and this is a little different, though, mika, because this separation of families, this is images and they've been so powerful already. the little girl having her shoe laces taken off, the children crying, the sounds of those children crying. the president is a visual and visceral person and he's hearing that from his bief, from former republican first ladies. this is a 67% disapproval issue he's touching. >> and to be clear attorney general jeff sessions made the policy announcement in april, but you see the president kind of doubling down on it, tripling
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down on it and making his dhs secretary walk out in front of the cameras to lie to the american people and twist the facts and dance around the truth to the point where it was uncomfortable to watch and you wonder could someone be so inhumane, so cruel to support a policy like this but then to do something like this to a person who works for him, i think we have to put two and two together because that's what we're seeing. there doesn't appear to be any explanation and his behavior shows he's so focused on himself and threats to his idea of himself that he will abuse the people around him and force them to lie in order to push back against something else that he wants to distract from. >> look, this is -- at its core this is a deeply moral issue. >> and a deeply disturbed
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person. >> they look at the images and say forget about the damage he's doing to the secretary of homeland security, the damage he's doing to children, the morality of this policy. but this is just a communications and political catastrophe. the white house doesn't even have their story straight. jeff sessions is quoting scripture to justify this policy. the secretary of homeland security is saying we're not doing it then saying darn right we're doing it. the president is lying about why they're doing it. but i get this strategy of firing up the base but americans can recognize a moral issue and i think americans are good enough to say this is not a republican or democratic issue. >> is it your understanding congressman that there is anything presenting the president from stopping this policy of family separation? >> of course not. the department of homeland security reports the the president of the united states. there is no such thing as a
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democratic law and the law under which this is being enforced has been the law for the last three presidents. and every other president decided that this was too morally repugnant a thing to do. they've been very clear that this is designed to be a deterrent. in other words children being yanked from their parents, that's going to cause parents not to bring their children into the country. that turns out not fwob true. >> congressman. it's interesting to hear the president and those around him make the plaintiff cry that this is the democrats' fault. this is all your fault. you have absolute control book into the obama administration so what in your estimation can democrats in the house and senate or combination do to call the president's bluff? >> well, first of all, the speciousness of the president's position lies in the fact that the democrats control neither the senate, nor the house, nor
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the oval office. the president could order right now this practice to stop so the notion the democrats are somehow responsible is absurd on the face of it so what will we do instead? we'll do what we are doing which is highlight if we're going on. you'll see more and more of that. you'll see us saying here to the american people is what is being done in your name. this is still a democracy. so what the government does is being in your name and i don't think republican or democrat will say i'm standing up for that. zpr o >> one of the conversations i had recently was from jeh johnson from the obama administration and he looked at this issue and said they didn't discuss the idea of separating kids and families but the other issue they did do is intern whole families in 2014 and he says it doesn't even work as a deterrent. you can do an extreme immigration measure, you'll see the numbers develop off of people for a brief period of
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time but then the facts backing guatemala and el salvador and honduras reassert themselves and the numbers open up again and you need good collaboration with your central american partners, good collaboration with mexico which is something this administration doesn't have particularly. otherwise even the toughest measures that steve miller is proposing, they are not going to fix this. the numbers might go up after the midterms and that's what the white house is counting on. it won't work as a deterrent policy. it just doesn't. >> there's 11,000 children being held by the federal government, 2,000 separated on the border but remember where we were a couple years ago where families in guatemala, honduras and el salvador were sending their six-year-olds by themselves through mexico up into the border. if your situation in honduras or el salvador or nicaragua is so bad that you're going to send your young child alone through mexico, the idea that the
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possibility that you arrive in the united states is not going to stop people to get across the border. >> do you think the attacks on the investigation that are coming from the president and the people so weak they feel they need to say it, do you think that that could actually spark support against mueller and for president trump? >> well, we're watching an almost year old campaign now on the part of the president and the president has lost all credibility of mueller and you've played the fbi director and the inspector general talking about that. the people i fault, though, are people who should know better. senate leader mcconnell, speaker of the house. this is a justice department investigation. the idea that it's a witch-hunt is belied by the fact that you've already had convictions, guilty pleas, indictments and
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the fact that in the capital mitch mcconnell and the speaker of the house and majority leader mccarthy are saying it's time to wrap this up is a huge disservice to the country. >> is it at all interesting to point out that mitch mcconnell's wife works for the president and was sitting behind him as the president was talking about this cruel policy and defending it? is there anything interesting about that? >> what was interesting to me was that she looked down. >> which she did after charlottesville, too. >> but didn't use her voice. is his wife afraid of losing the job? i'm grasping for explanations here at this lack of leadership. >> four words, mark sanford, martha robie. these are two of the most conservative right wing republicans in the house of representatives. mark sanford will no longer be in the house of representatives. martha robie in alabama is having a rough primary because they stood against this
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president so sorry, michael, i have a huge admiration for what the republican party used to be. today it is a cult of donald trum trump. >> even though laura bush has a 70% approval rating, this is -- on immigration it's the party of trump and not the party of bush. that's the past. >> on trade, on tariffs. >> on everything. congressman jim himes, thank you for being on. thank you for your hard work. coming up, we heard melania trump's take on the administration's family separation policy. but what about the senior adviser to the president, ivanka trump, who was supposed to be the champion of families in the white house? we'll be joined by emily jane fox, the author of a new book on the trump family. "morning joe" is coming right back. [ roar ] [ heavy breathing ] [ scream ] rated pg-13.
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>> my father values talent. he recognizes real knowledge and skill when he finds it. he is color blind and genter neutral. he hires the best fern for the j -- person for the job, period. >> so much has changed. that was first daughter and seen the your adviser to the president ivanka trump at the
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2016 republican national convention vouching for her father as an advocate for women. joining us now, senior reporter at "vanity fair," emily jane fox. her new book "born trump, inside america's first family" is out tod today. i'm half way through, it's fantastic and fascinating. i have to put everything out there. i've tried my best with ivanka trump. i posted comments on her instagram. i was so frustrated. i new ivanka before her father won and even went in to see her after her father won and she seemed so excited about trying to put together a platform for women and i didn't agree with a lot that obviously the policies that this president would be putting forward i would have an issue with but i wanted to be
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supportive and help but it seems like an utter and colossal disappointment to say that ivanka trump wanted to help women. >> not just women, children, family. this was the reason why she moved down to washington. the reason why she took an official position at the white house. >> but is it really, knowing her now? >> well the only time she's spoken out against her father was about roy moore and she said there's a special place in hell for people who did horrible things to children. so speaking out publicly did nothing. speaking out to her father personally and privately as she says she is done on a number of issues also does nothing. so you're not an effective advocate can f you can't speak out publicly and you can't speak out privately. the only way to be an advocate if you care about these issues is to say i won't be part of this administration anymore. i'm not going to stand for
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administration but from everything i learned in reporting this book, this is someone who in her childhood was chased down the street with the headline that said -- talking about her father's personal private relationships with women and her reaction wasn't to be angry to her father, her reaction was to call her father more, was to worry about if her last name would still be trump so this psychology of her childhood is playing out in the white house now where regardless of what she believes, if she truly believes it, she's never going to leave her father. >> you report in the book, emily, which is just extraordina extraordinary, this is going to be a huge best-seller and it should be. the day after the election, 2016, ivanka planned to go back to work at her fashion line which tells you about the psychology inside the trump campaign on election day. did she want to -- once it dawned on her her father had become president of the united states, did she seek a position in the white house? did she have to be talk 13w50d
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the senior role in the white house? would she have been happier in new york? >> i think knowing what we know now her life would have been easier if she stayed in new york but at the time this was an opportunity that none of them expected but she left. this was not something anyone had to talk her into. she was going to be there front and center and we saw this play out over great lakes weinaugura where all of the children were concerned about being front and center where they positioned themselves to be in the history books. >> literally positioning themselves. >> literally making sure one person was at the center of the shot or this person was closer to their father so their face would be the one that would show up in the photos. they wanted this to be a camelot weekend. they were very concerned with this looking like a kennedy-esque picture but it's more the card dashi kardashians. >> it's almost like the staging of the photo that will promo the
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upcoming series that is about to unfold in the nation. so with that as the backdrop, what does your deep dive into trump world look like? the president, as we were talking about earlier, likes this isolationist position he's take wherein the circle within the circle within the circle is getting smaller and smaller and tighter and he's really the manipulator of all things. is that how this narrative will play itself out from what you've been able to determine or are there other elements. are we now seeing what the trump administration full throat is going to be like. isn't that why jared and ivanka smoothed these?
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the kids are the beating heart of that inner circle and if they can't make a difference with their father -- >> if the kids are the -- what are the concentric circles and where does melania who is an outsider but married to trump fit into that? is she accepted as part of the family or is she always seen as suspect because she's not trump linea lineage? it sounds so incredibly regal, that you have to be born into -- >> you're making their day by calling it regal. but melania was -- when she came into the family the children were fairly happy. they were not big fans of marla maples so everything was an upgrade from that. in one interview ivanka had done around the time of her father's marriage she said basically as long as she's older than don jr. >> kasie hunt has a question. kasie? >> i'm just wondering about the relationship between ivanka and
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melani melania. the issue trump put out seems to have broken with her husband more significantly than we've seen ivanka be willing to do. >> it's interesting. both ivanka and melania and the first lady are in washington right now and from people who i know who are close to the first lady, she doesn't get a tremendous amount of support from ivanka and jared. there's an east wing and west wing divide and i think that there is a little bit of a familial divide as well between them. not your typical stepmoth stepmother/stepdaughter relationship between the two of them. i am surprised ivanka has not put out even a statement like -- melania's statement, i'm happy she put it out but it's word salad. it doesn't say anything substantial. the fact that ivanka didn't even put out an unsubstantial
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statement is surprising to me but what good would it do? >> not a lot at this point. we have more questions for you. emily, stay with us. still ahead this morning, it's safe to say when you're struggling to differentiate your policy from hitler's, you're probably on the losing side of the debate. we'll hear the defense from the attorney general last night coming up on "morning joe." and now for the rings. (♪) i'm a four-year-old ring bearer
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we'll continue our conversation with emily jane fox. and i'm flipping over this beautiful trumpian gold cover that you have and just let me read two lines of an excerpt from the book that appears on the back. this is the day don jr. was born. quote, what should we name him, donald asked ivanka. she suggested donald jr. which made her husband balk. what if he's a loser? the name stuck and by 8:00 he'd left the hospital.
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it's one anecdote that begins the brand of trump parenting that you described in the book. how do you characterize the upbringing that all these trump kids had? >> in one sense it was incredibly privileged. they had a castle essentially in palm beach on the ocean. they had a house in grenich. these were kids who grew up with a gold spoon if their mouth but they had a fairly traumatic childhood themselves. their parents' divorce was so public they had to be pulled out of school and live in mar-a-lago for two months.
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they had parents who was very self-focus and while they gave them so much. >> they were essentially raised by staff. >> two nannies and ivanka's parents were very much available for their young childhood as well. their parents were around, they lived in trump tower, they worked in trump tower, they saw their dad every day but it was not a traditional father, son relationship as well. >> so go through each kid and sort of what it is that's going on with them now. what role they play. >> actually michael cohen who has been in the news a lot, the first time i interviewed him gave me a fantastic way to think about the kids. he said that the president had five children in the hopes that one would turn out like him, that the odds were in his favor if he had five children, but the reality was that each child had
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a portion of him. michael cohen described it to me as they're little vul trons and each has a personality trait of the president and the way he saw it is that ivanka is the sort of media master mind. don jr. got the attack dog nature from his father. e erzic is a true builder. michael cohen didn't categorize the other to children, but tiffany and baron are ber perhaps more of the outsiders. >> oh, my gosh. i think the story line you have about donald and ivanka is fascinating and i'll let people read that for themselves but there's ill liegusion to the questions about what the connection is and how they work togethernd. thank you so much. the new book is "born trump, inside america's first family."
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it's out today. and still ahead, a moral show of force. u.s. first ladies go on the record to rebuke the trump administration's family separation policy. we'll also dissect the secretary of homeland security's performance in the briefing room yesterday which was stunning. we'll talk to a volunteer who's been helping immigrant families at the border. she writes about agents taking nursing infants from their parents and officers telling the parents of 5 and 7-year-olds that their child is going to get bathed and then the children never return. "morning joe" is coming right back. mom and dad got a new car.
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more for your thing. that's our thing. visit att dot com. welcome to "morning joe." it's tuesday, june 19th. we have mike barnicle, washington anchor for bbc world news america, former chair of the republican national committee, michael steele. capitol hill host of kasiedc. we missed that laser rock. okay. more and more republicans speaking out finally about president trump's policy of separating migrant families at the southern border. ka kasie will tells what's happening on capitol hill and those arguing that the nazis were keeping jews from leaving
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the country. so we'll have that sound for you and we appreciate his explanation as to why that parallel doesn't work. but first, we want to get into the performance we saw yesterday by homeland security secretary. >> i would love to see if i can help explain some of what's going on and give you some of the facts. >> so what you're about to hear are not facts. it's actually deceit. it feels a lot like twisted truth and evasion and some lies. >> ms 13 have violated our borders and gained a deadly foothold within the united states. >> problem is, this two-year-old girl is not a member of ms 13. >> it is not possible as a matter of law to detain and remove whole family units. >> yeah, it's actually not the law. it's donald trump's policy. and it is happening. children are being separated from their families.
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reporters like jacob and others have been showing us the horrific facts and pictures and video of families separated. families are being torn apart. who in america could do this? >> congress and the courts created this problem and congress alone can fix it. >> i'm sorry. you're inkrek. this is not the case. but don't listen to me. take it from senator susan collins. >> that's amazing that she said that. >> yeah. keep on going, mad dam secretary, because the world is watching and listening to you. >> this administration did not create a policy of separating families at the border. >> it appears the attorney general disagrees with you. and you work for the same commander in chief. it's his policy. >> if you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you. and that child may be separated
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from you as required by law. >> all of you awe peppear to be failing the country. why not take another crack at it? again you're on the record. go. >> we will separate those who claim to be a parent and child. >> oh, so you do separate families. those who claim to be a parent and child. why did you tweet on sunday quote, we do not have a policy of separating families? >> parents can still communicate with their children through phone calls and video conferences. >> video conferencing. okay, with a baby. maybe an infant ripped from her mother's arms. that's comforting from you. it's exceedingly rare for parents to be able to call their children in this situation if it happens at all. >> members of congress on the democratic side say that you are using children as a lever to try to get them to take legislative
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action. what do you say to that? >> i say that is a cowardly response. >> it is cowardly to do that. you're on the record for history to remember forever. here's your boss, the president. >> the democrats can come to us as they actually are in all fairness, we are talking to them and they can change the whole border security. we need a wall. >> okay. so if the democrats give the president his border wall, this policy stops? that actually makes them pawns. that makes them leverage. mad dam secretary you seem extremely confused. >> have you seen the photos of children in cages? >> some have referred to them as cages, but keep in mind this is a great big warehouse facility where they built walls out of chain lunink fences. >> so not cages, just walled
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cells of chain link fences. okay. that's information directly i guess from trump tv. >> policy is not by your defz in addition in any way cruel. >> it's not a policy. >> you seem to struggle on that one. and you didn't answer the question. let me help you out. ripping children from their parents is cruel. it's inhumane and it's weakening our nation's standing around the world. nbc's kristen welker tried to ask you a very simple question. >> reporter: why is the government only releasing images of the boys? where are the girls, where are the young fathers. >> i don't know. i'm not familiar with those particular images. >> you're not familiar with the pictures the government released under your authority. kristen welker please continue. >> you're saying they're being
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well cared for so how can you make that claim if you don't nose where they havare? >> i'm saying the vast majority of children are held by health and human services. >> where are the toddlers? krirsen asked about the foe -- photos. >> i'm only aware of the boys. >> she will look into it. >> if you're seeking asylum, go to a port of entry. that actually is incorrect. we have limited resources. we will tell people to come to the border they knead need to c back. >> so we're incorrect. people fleeing for their lives need to come back at a more convenient time for the
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government. >> are you intending for parents to be separated from their children? are you intending to send a message? >> i find that offensive. no. because why would i ever create a policy that purposely does that? >> so then i think you think jeff sessions is offensive. queue the a.g. >> hopefully people will get the message and come through the border at the port of entry and not break across the border unlawfully. >> just ask white house advisor stephen miller quote, the message is that no one is exempt from immigration law. >> will it continue to require the separation of children from their parents until the president gets exactly what he wants. >> if congress closes the loophol loopholes, some of which are taken up by this week by the house then they close the loopholes and the families will stay together throughout the proceedings. thank you.
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>> do you believe the policy is a deterrent? >> so they are pawns. since the dhs secretary was so unsure for information, so unsure of where this situation came from, so unsure of whether it was a policy or a law, so unsure of even the location of the girls and toddlers and so unsheer as -- unsure whether this was abusive or not. maybe this will help. here now is the sound of children being torn from their families. this is what it sounds like.
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>> i have her number memorized. so lille wii, that w willie that was the department of homeland security trying to comment on this. failing miserably in my opinion. >> she's wrong this is about democrats, this is about congress. this is a policy. we've said it a million times over the last couple weeks. this is a policy that the trump administration could with a red line could eliminate this morning. let's be clear about that. the other thing is that this is intentional. this is about deterrence. jeff sessions said so out loud. stephen miller has said so out loud. time and again, if you ask republicans they say why are you doing this? the phrase i hear is that it's a tough deterrent. this isn't going to stop people from entering the country illegally. the idea that it's cooked up by democrats or it's congress's
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fault is totally false and we saw a number speaking against trump's policy. pat roberts said while i firmly ensupport enforcing our separation laws, my concern first and foremost is the protection of the children. senator orrin hatch, another republican said a policy that leads to separating children from their families is wrong. the white house can fix it if they want to. i don't think there's any question about that. and senate tor john mccain twee it's an affront the the decency of the american people. the administration has the power to rescind this policy. it should do so now. >> junior members also speaking out. ben sass of nebraska posting to facebook, this is wrong. americans do not take children hostage, period. the president should immediately end this family separation
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policy. last night senator ted cruz released legislation for faster deportations and asylum processing but also to keep families together in the process. >> all of us who are seeing these images of children being pulled away from moms and dads in tears, we're horrified. this has to stop. kids need their moms and dads and we can keep the families together while these cases are pending. >> so you've been covering this very closely. senator ted cruz has actually proposed pretty detailed legislation. double the numbers of judge, build more facilities so that families can be kept together while they're awaiting their hearing before a judge. is there real movement on capitol hill? we know democrats have introduced legislation, but what about republicans? are they willing to push it over the top? >> i think that are. i mean, all signs are pointing
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to nearly universal outrage, shock and horror over what is unfolding and i think you know, many of the comments that were made by republicans yesterday came out even before that leaked audio tape which i think really came across as an emotional punch in the gut, we've obviously been seeing some of these still pictures. we haven't been able to see independent video. most of the video we're seeing inside these facilities has been handout video from the government. i think there's a lot of questions on how this process might play out over the course of the next week. you very have several competing proposals to try to end this policy. keep in mind, we talk about this quote unquote compromise proposal many the house that we're expected to see voted on on thursday. that's a compromise that's strictly among republicans and there's still a lot of question es about whether it would
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uncollude language that would end this policy. we're still asking for clarification. but i do think the reality is, the president could end this with a phone call. the immigration policy process on capitol hill has been a mess for i'm pretty sure it's fair to say decades. at this point the idea that by august, nbc news is reporting there could be 20,000 children being held by the u.s. government. 20,000? it is not inconceivable that trying to put something like this through congress could take that long. are we willing as a country to do that? i think you'll see more republicans say no. >> still ahead on "morning joe," first lay oi tour de france o-united states all speaking out against the president's policy of separating children from their families. we'll run through that next on "morning joe." got aging roadway, aging power grids, ...aging everything. we also have the age-old problem
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>> former first ladies are
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joining the chorus of people speaking out against the separation of parents and children at the border. carter released a statement saying quote, the practice and policy today from removing children from their parents' care at our border is disgraceful and a shame to our country. laura bush wrote an op ed. we mentioned it yesterday. she says i appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries. but this zero tolerance policy is cruel. it is immoral and it breaks my heart. >> michelle obama tweeted out laura bush's column adding sometimes truth transcends party and i think that might be where we're at today. we're going to have to ask democrats and republicans whether they want to be with truth or party especially republicans. at an event in new york city yesterday, hillary clinton harshly criticized her political
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rivals zero tolerance policy. she gave her own interpretation of a bible verse. >> i've studied the bible both the old and the new testament and what is being done using the name of religion is contrary to everything i was ever taught. jesus said suffer the little children unto me. he did not say, let the children suffer. >> current first lady melania trump really did something rather remarkable. appearing to disagree with her husband's controversial policy and a statement reads mrs. trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. she believes we need to be a country that follows all laws
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but also a country that governs with heart. that would include policies. first of all, the former first ladies banding together, was the statement in itself. we are beginning to see republicans break. i'm still apolled that we're standing here at this moment that this is an argument. that this is even an issue and i thought the department of homeland security secretary's performance yesterday was staggering. >> yeah, she didn't seem to get the facts very straight and it was good that you pointed all of that out at the beginning of the program. this is a story that everybody is watching around the world and that people here increasingly are watching from both sides of the aisle. the numbers do still show that when it comes to the republican party, attitudes to this issue of separating children from their parents are very different than the rest of the country. you poll the country by and large and the majority don't
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like this policy. you dig deeper and more republicans support separating children from their parents than those who disapprove of the policy. >> by about 20 points. >> so president trump is still firmly tacking to the idea that he has popular support in his own party for this and that's what's going to make it harder i think for him to pick up the phone and he hates the idea that he's going to get browbeaten into picking up the phone and sur rending a policy that he believes is essential to his base. what did he do? he hit really hard on the issue of immigration. he still thinks this is where he needs to be and so far, you know, the party is with him on that. coming up on "morning joe," yesterday we brought you some stunning descriptions of what is happening along the border including parents being told their kids are being sent to take a shower, only to never come back. those reports came from ann chandler, the leader of a texas
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nonprofit who is on the front lines and she joins us next on "morning joe." they appear out of nowhere.
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i want to see. i we worked with pg&eof to save energy because wenie. wanted to help the school. they would put these signs on the door to let the teacher know you didn't cut off the light. the teachers, they would call us the energy patrol.
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camps. we've got all the first ladies, weighed in. general sessions, what's going on here? >> well, it's a real exaggeration, of course in gnatgnanazi germany they were keeping the jews from looefrzieaving the co. >> and someone who has heard firsthand of the parents who have been separated from their children. ann chandler is the executive direct or of the houston office of the nonprofit that advocates for immigrant men, women and children. and allet me begin with you. we read some of your comments from the texas monthly piece yesterday here on our show and just wanted to get your sense of what you've seen firsthand down along the border. >> yes, what i've seen is quite disgusting. you know, it is the forced separation as you've articulated
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of the children from the parents and what that look like is really different depending on the tactics used, but we've had situations where the government officials are quite blatant and say we're going to take your child from you and when the children scream or cry and the parents ask, may i console my child the answer has been no. we heard from one mother who described it was the first time that she had ever been separated from her child and her child started vomiting and crying and the mother said, you know, can i just officer, have five minutes to console my daughter? and the answer to that was no. >> and as someone who has worked on this problem for a long time, someone who's watched this well before president trump was in office, how is this different? what happened to a family that kroosz crossed the border illegally before. >> we have never seen administration decide that they want to take first time asylum
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seekers and en masse begin using our criminal laws to prosecute that -- that action of coming to our country, arriving on our soil. yes it happens over a raft but when individuals say i want asylum the old process was let's begin that process. let's have them speak to an officer at the asylum office. what we're seeing is prosecution, take your kid away and make it as incredible as possible for these parents and children to speak to each other, to know their where abouts and to get lost in and at times we are seeing cases where parents are being deported without having any contact with their child. >> thomas, are siblings? i guess siblings are separated if they're male and female? are siblings able to stay together? >> i don't have any clarification on that policy. >> thomas, do you know?
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>> i do not. >> okay. because i would think if they separated the boys and you -- they don't know where the girls or at least the dhs secretary can't tell us where the girls are, that would mean that siblings are separated if they're male or female which would be incredible. that would be a trauma for them. >> thomas, what is your -- >> it does seem to be the policy. what is your take on this policy? there must be a delay. >> this is despicable and un uninhuma uninhumane. this has nothing whatsoever to do with arriving at an immigration policy that better reflects the value of the country. this is about terrorizing toddlers and frightening children and parents all designed to proposedly deter adults who are making difficult conditions. instead of addressing the
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violent conditions we're simply repeating the violence at our own border by separating parents from their children. >> so what is the official charge they're being charged with? >> they're being charged with illegal entry and as you've heard -- >> is that a felony or a misdemeanor. >> it is a misdemeanor. >> what's the next -- what is the next step after being charged? >> they are generally going to be taken before a judge expected to plead guilty and in most cases they're going to be released and deported. but they will then have a criminal conviction for illegal sfwri u entry -- entry on their record. but whether or not you choose to prosecute them really has nothing to do with taking their children. i know they've been told that they can't be with you while you're in confinement but the fact is we're tearing children
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away from parents telling them it may be permanent when in fact the folks who are telling them that know it's not likely to be held in detention for very long at all. it's simply creating trauma with long-term effects with no reason except for political reasons. >> and yesterday homeland security indicated that while some churn aildren are separatem some parents, some parent, they have the opportunity to speak to that parent. they can call that parent and she seemed to indicate they could skype or something with that parent. is that accurate? >> we went out to visit ten adults who were detained in the greater houston area and these parents had been detained and had been separated from their children sometime between may 23rd and may 25th. we spoke to the parents on june 4th and 5th and what we realized was not a sing parent had had any contact or ability to speak
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on the phone with their child and only one parent in fact had any idea of what state their child was located in. so i find it highly dubious when i hear dhs statements that we believe in meaningful contact. all the defendants said we interviewed dozens of them down in mcallen when they were in the courtroom. they're given a phone number, a 1-800 number at that time when we know these phone numbers don't actually work when they are detained. so i would really like to see some transparent data that backs up this statement that they are facilitating meaningful conversation between parents and their children, because the facts in texas speak otherwise. >> and because we are all trying to learn more of the facts of what's happening and you've been
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to these centers, we've also heard some stories that you've got situations where parents are being deported but the children are being left in these facilities in the united states. can you give us clarification on what's happening on that or not. >> the structure is set up that way. when a child is rendered unaccompanied. they enter into a very different legal structure than a parent who is involved in the expedited removal. they have different time lines and different rights. a child has the raight to have proceeding and time in front of a judge whose job it is so ascertain whether this child has a bonn fied asylum case. >> and have you heard of any cases where that is happening, where the child is going through the one process and the parent
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has already been deported. >> oh, not just one case. many cases and it is grueling, it is heart wrenching that our government somehow not -- finds it okay to not only separate the parent, but then say, we can't really inform you of what the clear process it is that you're going to walk through to actually be able to get your child back prior to our process of deporting you to your home country. >> thomas, just a quick one on the legal defense for both the children and the parents. what's being set up right now to assist in that regard, to give these individuals due process rights, if you will, to sort of get through this system because as you noted this is a misdemeanor, this is not a federal crime and yet they're being treated as if they had a federal crime. how is that defense piece coming together to support those
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families on the ground? >> charged with a federal crime they woush provided with an attorney but in the rest of our immigration system, including the children, when they are put through a deportation proceeding, even an asylum processing proceeding they're not governed by our government. so children who are toddlers, who are younger don't have legal representation unless it's provided to them by a number of very strong, pro bono legal sources organizations that can do all they can to make sure the folks are represented. we're putting children through immigration processes where they're not given legal representation and there's some very strong programs providing free legal services. they cannot do it all. it is often made more difficult by this government for those adults and children to connect
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with the folks who are prepared and able to provide legal services to them. this is a travesty driven by one and only one concern which is to reach out to donald trump's most extreme right wing supporters to reassure them that he is doing something about an issue that is largely been trumped up, if you will, by repeated lies, misstatements of fact, misstatement of statistics by this administration as to what is going on on the border. what's going on is folks are going through arduous journeys to escape tremendous violence. they are seeking asylum and protection here and this government is not only turning its back on those requests. in many cases it is refusing to listen to them and it is over the last many days they are separating, terrorizing, traumatizing children by separating them from their parents.
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>> thank you very much for what you're doing. and you know, everyone is trying to speak out. mike barnicle, in the best way they can and do something about this. i find this to be so upsetting that i know i'm trying to just stick to the facts. and try and show our viewers the facts and stay focused on the facts. in terms of other solutions i guess there's a lot being put on congress and what they could do. do they relent and i guess play into these children being used as pawns or what's the way forward? >> yeah, it's a -- we're in a difficult situation as a country. we have a premeditated and planned separation policy being carried out along the -- our border with mexico. tom brokaw had a couple of ideas that i think are well worth considering and talking about on
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programs like this. given the fact that the government seems so inept specifically the political end of the government, congress specifically seems so inept at coming up with sensible solutions, in the interim dealing with the people who have traveled these dangerous routes to get to our border, we have aspects of our culture, parts of our culture that have dealt with things like this during hurricanes, tornados, natural disasters, salvation army. the american red cross. catholic charities, we ought to encourage them to be employed at this border. to help with these families who are -- have arrived here under such duress, such pain only to find out that their children are kidnapped once they get here. >> it's as bad as it gets. >> it's a bit murky and the administration is not giving us
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facts. so we need people who have been there and the children are being leflt behind in these facilities. how will they find those kids again. >> the trauma the parents are enduring is real as the trauma in your children. >> and to your point, your points, actually, that you raised earlier, one of the more offense ifr aspects of the performance yesterday was when she indicated or hinted that there is constant communication between the child and the parent as they were separated. because when we had the initial reports last week from nbc news from the border, one of the questions we asked on air was basically you were going through prison rules. you know, are they housed together? do they have meals at separate times? do they have access to a
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telephone to call their parents. there was maybe an hourly time but four five-year-olds doing this? no. >> up next, the president's trade war with china is set to send stocks tumbling for a sixth straight session. we'll look at where things stand right now. we're back in a moment.
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♪ ♪ ♪
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it's going to be important monetarily and militarily. so important for our military. so important. we must have american dominance in space. so important. >> we are going to have the air force and we are going to have the space force. separate but equal.
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it is going to be something. so important. this is a -- >> separate but equal. >> oh. >> of all the terms that he could choose. >> yeah, that's what you call a clueless moment. >> separate but equal. >> it's incredible. >> combine nasa with plessi and fergson. i understand pence has bought into this, but i -- i don't know. we could get more from someone. >> president trump yesterday directed the pentagon to establish a sixth branch of the u.s. armed forces called the space force and it will be separate but equal. trump says the new branch will protect american interests in outer space by monitoring commercial traffic and debris, adding it will be great, quote, in terms of jobs and the psyche
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of our country. however, the president not unilaterally create a new branch of the military. only an act of congress can. last year defense secretary jim mattis came out against creating a new space force. separate but equal, willie. >> well, it hasn't generated the headlines it deserves but major battles when it comes to the trade battle with china. trump prepares more tariffs for china identifying a list of $200 billion worth of chinese goods. how are the markets reacting? >> the markets are reacting worse than they were yesterday. yerd we we yesterday we were on with you guys. we are going to be off by about 350, 370 points if futures stand where they are going into the opening bell and like you said, it's all about this tit for tat
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retaliation. and trump has raised the stakes again with a threat for at of those sets targeting 200 billion worth of products. and a swift response from china. with the commerce ministry saying that this new plan is this is blackmail. trump did say that the new proposed tariffs would take effect if quote, china redpuzs to change its practices and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently attacked. so you get this idea that some are likening this to a chess match. some of saying this is the highest of poker matches. however you want to view it, this is what an escalating trade conflict looks like. a skirmish that escalates step by step until it becomes a full
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blown tier. our markets were lower yesterday. we did finish off the lowest levels of the day. still though it means a five-day losing streak for the dow jones trillion average and today's projected losses are much less than yesterday reflecting the idea of escalated on the market. and major stock end dexs in china were down and we're seeing those flow into european trading. so this is something that us on our side are watching very, very closely. >> thank you very, very much. >> up next, the president says he regrets picking jeff sessions as his attorney general but he's true arc tekt of the policy agenda and that it could mean the end of civil rights. we'll dig into the new piece in
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the atlantic mag magazine next on "morning joe." he patients we're fighting for. our cancer treatment specialists share the same vision. experts from all over the world, working closely together to deliver truly personalized cancer care. and these are the specialists we're proud to call our own. expert medicine works here. learn more at cancercenter.com appointments available now.
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allow you to take advantage of growth opportunities... with a level of protection in down markets. so you can be less concerned about your retirement savings. talk with your advisor about shield annuities from brighthouse financial- established by metlife. i was very surprised at the size of this crowd. woman: my question is, why hasn't congress started impeachment proceedings given what we know, and they probably know much more. i think that if you speak to congress-people privately, democrats and republicans acknowledge that this is a reckless, dangerous, and lawless president. for them, political safety is what is driving them to sweep it under the rug. if we don't stand up for the basic values of america, if we normalize this behavior, he will continue, and he will push it every single time he gets away with it. i mean, that's sort of the reaction to any bully. it tends to isolate you, and when you meet with other people and listen,
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you get that sense that you're not the only one who feels that way. well, i'm just grateful that everybody... that i'm not the only one that feels that trump needs to be impeached. that i'm not the only one that feels could light up the room? aveeno® positively radiant sheer daily moisturizer. lightweight hydration for positively radiant skin that lasts. aveeno®. naturally beautiful results®. this is a story about mail
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and packages. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail they're handing us their business and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you ♪ joining us now, staff writer at the atlantic, van newkirk. his new piece for the magazine titled "the end of civil rights" is about jeff sessions and the tradition of undermining justice for minorities. he writes, behind the scenes, even as the president has agitated in public about firing his attorney general, sessions is the true architect of much of what people believe to be
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trump's domestic policy agenda. as implemented in recent decisions to curtail asylum grants, ramp up immigration enforcement and dial back criminal justice reform and voting rights protections, this agenda is more than just the reversal of policies enacted during the barack obama era, which trump promised during his campaign. rather, from the black belt in alabama in the 1980s to the farthest reaches of the border fence today, the sessions doctrine is the end game of a long legal tradition of undermining minority civil rights. and he joins us now. i'd love for you to tell us more about your piece and your premise for it. because i do feel that we're at a place in history where things are beginning to unravel. and we do need to start putting the pieces together. and not allowing them to be
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single acts by this president. that they're all connected. and he wants to be an authoritarian. >> right. and so what i wanted people to do when they first read this piece is think about how many news items that actually involve policy over the past couple of weeks. how many of those are actually connect order tied to attorney jeff sessions. and i think you look and see most of the news about immigration, about asylum, about family separation, if you go and look at the criminal justice aspects of it. you look in private prisons. the president's speeches on respecting police. most of those things have their genesis in the attorney general's office. so what i did was basically say, okay, jeff sessions has an agenda, and where's it come from. i think title's sort of indicative of where we were going with it, the end of civil rights. we're not talking about civil rights as a concept being done.
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we're talking about the era, the last 50 years, in which the executive is, by law, forced to be an active watchdog of minority civil rights. that era may be coming to an end with the derailment of the voting rights act, with the government pushing back against its responsibilities. >> vann, it's willie geist. it's good to have you on this morning. in many ways, pictures worth seeing along the border are for jeff sessions. if you look back on his views with immigration, i don't think it's unfair to use the term "fantasy" of what the border looks like in terms of who gets in and what happens to the people who attempt to come across the border. he and steven miller i think found a vessel in donald trump, somebody who had the ability to rise to the oval office to get their agenda through. can you outline where jeff sessions has been even before he was attorney general on immigration? >> well, he's always been a
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hard-liner. and probably on the conservative hard line side, even among hard-liners. jeff sessions believes that entering the country without proper ver ification is a crime. and like his policies on other pieces of crime, he has a stark black and white view of what happens to people who commit crimes. they go to prison. it doesn't matter if they have their children with them. they go to prison. believes that leniency undermines the entire framework for what law and order in this country is. now, i think, unfortunately, for sessions, for the people at the border especially, he's placed the genesis of crime, of lots of the things that he believes are wrong in this country. he uses stats about crime that are probably not correct. but in painting a picture of increasing waves of crime and opioids coming from the border, he places the main problem, what he believes is wrong with
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america, on the shoulders of immigrants, around immigrants, yes. >> michael steele, i'll let you take a question to vann. it does seem a lot like pruitt where there's all this noise surrounding the person. in sessions, it's russia -- and yet they're getting a lot done. that feeds the base. >> that is -- i think what folks really need to do is take a step back and this is why -- what vann has written is such a good, important road map of what's going on. >> to help us understand. >> the two most effective players in this administration are scott pruitt -- >> yes. >> epa administrator and the attorney general, jeff sessions. because of all the cast of characters, they have been the most effective at dismantling the obama legacy, number one, but also bringing into the forefront, as vann points out in his piece, this new era in civil rights, which is not the progression of civil rights but the regression of civil rights. it started long before sessions
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got there. but in his recurrent role, both effective when he was in the united states senate and along with others who wanted to put the civil rights agenda in the -- which is why the voting act is not being acted on and other issues. how is that going to reconcile up against those members of the republican party, like a rand paul and others, who are pushing a criminal justice reform that is counter, a counternarrative, if you will, to what we see coming out of this justice department? is there a reconciliation there? does that die on the vine? is what sessions doing so ingrained now that those types of reforms just won't take hold? >> so you raise a good point. sessions is -- his views here actually run counter to many members of his own party. like you said, the push for criminal justice reform for some
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bills that were on the hill, those were bipartisan pushes. the energy for not just prison reform but actually rethinking the way we do the basic police person to detention encounter, those are bipartisan initiatives. loss of energy against what's happening on the border. against the force of dis disintegration of families, that's bipartisan. i don't like to predict the future. it's too easy to get wrong now. but you will see, and you are seeing, people in his party who are saying jeff sessions doesn't quite represent what we believe to be true. what he's operating on is very old hard-line view of what's proper and what's not. you can go back to his tenure as the alabama attorney general. when he tried to get a law passed that executes people who get convicted of two drug
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offenses. when he's talking about defending the state against civil rights prosecutions from the federal government. he's not a person whose ideals have changed at all. even while it seems at least on the margins his party's changing. >> van new kirk, thank you, we'll be reading your new piece in "the atlantic." it's time for your final thoughts. mike. >> they weren't much different than three years ago. this is now going along on the border. this is the american story. because we are all americans, it is our story too. it is the story of an administration seemingly without a soul. so it's going to be up to each and every one of us as individuals, as citizens of this country, to decide whether we still have a soul. i'm pretty sure america still does have a soul. >> my final thought is the reminder that we've been providing all day and over the last couple of weeks that this is not result of a law. this is not the result of a congressional action. this is the result of a trump
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administration policy. a premeditated policy that, as nbc reported yesterday, you can go back to 11 days after the inauguration, dhs started floating the idea of using family separation as a deterrent. we've heard it directly from mouth of steven miller and the attorney general himself. >> we're at the moment of two opposing political forces. the country looking at these pictures and feeling shock and unease about what this says about america. and the president and his administration and his base, which is actually the policy we want and we do believe that this will work as a deterrent. the question is which is going to be the stronger of those. you're starting to get some republicans say we don't like this either. will there be enough of them to force the president to change policies. >> i'm just exhausted. i'm tired. i mean, you know, this is nonstop. we were talking about five alarm fire. every single day americans wake up to another five alarm fire.
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we've got to get a grip on this. to mike's point. i think that's -- right now, a lot of people exhausted. >> we need so many people in the administration and republicans in washington to step up and speak the truth. if you don't care that you're selling your soul, maybe you would care that the world is watching you. history is going to put whatever you say on the record. and it stays there. like a stain on you forever. i hope you can live with that. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle has much more on the growing border crisis. live from mcallen, texas, right now. >> good morning, everyone. i am live in mcallen, texas. i'm stephanie ruhle. we're going to start by covering the boiling point. there's been a furious reaction to president trump's zero tolerance policy. which rips families apart at the border. where i am.

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