tv MSNBC Live MSNBC June 23, 2018 4:00am-4:30am PDT
>> yeah. yeah, yeah. yeah. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. good morning. i'm dara brown in new york at msnbc world headquarters. it is 7:00 in the east, 4:00 out west. reframing the debate, president trump attempts to change the focus of immigration after weeks of criticism. >> do you hear the other side, you never hear this side. these are the families the media ignores. they don't talk about them. very unfair. why he's now telling republicans to stop wasting their time on immigration reform. plus, a legal showdown is coming as the 20-day holding period for minors in custody inches closer. hear what legal options immigrant families will have. and later, every man for
himself. does michael cohen have incriminating tapes of president trump? if so, what it might signal to the robert mueller team. we begin with a live picture of capitol hill where republicans are working through the weekend to pick up support for a moderate proposal on immigration that they hope to put on the house floor for a vote nexteek, despite president trump telling them to give up and wait until november when he predicts a red wave. but in a washington postop ed, conservative columnist george will says his party should pay a political price because lawmakers refuse to use their powers to reign in president trump once his administration implemented the separation policy. new today, fresh insight on what led president trump to retreat on that policy thursday and the confusion his executive order created between the justice department and the department of homeland security. meanwhile, the administration is reportedly trying to figure out how to reunite more families through a newly formed task force. this according to internal documents obtained by politico.
throughout all this, president trump is still propping up his zero tolerance immigration policy. now shifting focus on to immigrants who cross the border illegally and turn to violence. nbc's kristen welker has more. >> hi, dara. good morning to you. on friday, president trump held an event with americans whose loved ones were killed by undocumented immigrants, the president rolling out a new argument for his new zero tolerance immigration policy calling what the families have gone through permanent separation. it's his contrast to the fierce backlash of his policy of separating kids from their families at the border, something he just ended. but now days after urging congress to take further action on immigration, an about face. mr. trump tweeting republicans should stop wasting time on immigration until we elect more senators and congressmen in november. dem ss are just playing games.
the president accusing democrats of telling phony stories of sadness and grief to score political points. but hundreds of families remain split apart as the administration is still struggling to reunite them. dara. >> thank you so much. let's bring in melanie zanona and julia manchester, a reporter also from the hill. great to have you ladies here this morning. let's start with you because president trump's event yesterday with the families of victims who were killed by undocumented immigrants, he did this often during the campaign, but what is the calculation now after he had to treat on his own separation policy? >> well, i think this is a clear attempt by the president to try to turn the page, shift the narrative, and focus on what he calls permanent separation. referring to people who were killed in the united states by undocumented immigrants. this is something he's called angel families. as you mentioned, he mentioned it on the campaign trail, but
now he's renewing this idea as well as a tax on the media for what he says is unfair coverage. and it comes as his administration is under fire for the family separation policy. but look, i think there's a little bit maybe of regret here for the president for signing this executive order. he was largely seen as backing down and caving, something the president trump doesn't normally do. i think that's why you've also seen him amp up the rhetoric in his tweets, calling on democrats to fix u.s. immigration laws and to tighten the borders. and i think, you know, this is just another example yesterday on of him trying to shift the narrative and show that he's not backing down when it comes to his stance on illegal immigration. >> julia, the "new york times" reported even on wednesday, president trump repeatedly changed his mind about precisely what he wanted to do and how before he signed the order. mean wile, people familiar with his private conversations with aids tell "the washington post"
that the president wanted to sign a full immigration bill as part of an executive order which one administration official described as a pretty sane idea. so, julia, what kind of picture does this paint for you with regard to how picy is being created in the white house? >> for me, it really paints, again, a picture that we've seen repeatedly throughout this administraonei there are competing factions within the administration on issues including immigration. we've seen the president has surrounded himself with more moderate republicans as well as more hard liners on immigration such as steven miller. he's probably the most well known out of that group. and i think the president is trying to listen to both sides of this issue and it's almost like a survival of the fittest, you know, which idea to him sounds the best. so i think that's what's happening here. but we're continuing to see the president appear to go flip-flop on this issue. yesterday, he tweeted that house republicans should really abandon this immigration effort
at this point and wait until after the midterms to see, you know, if they get more seats and then pursue immigration. however, i think with the press's narrative of everything that's happening at the border and the urgency of the matter, i think it's important that the president and republicans, you know, in order to perform well in the midterms really work on thisration matter immediately because we've seen that other administrations have tried to solve this problem, but it's been put on the back burner in the past. so i don't see this going away, but this is continuing infighting within the white house. >> and melanie, republican congressman mike hoffman is calling on president trump to fire steven miller who has been the architect of the administration's immigration policy. kaufman tweeted this is a human rights mess. it is on the president to clean it up and fire the people making it. is there a reason steven miller has been so quiet and not appearing in any media
interviews? >> it's interesting. he has been a driving force wind this policy. he's an immigration hawk, a conservative hard liner. he's been crafting this immigration plan on capitol hill. he's responsible for a lot of immigration policies including the travel ban. but the white house has been very careful about putting him out. they even spiked an audio with him by the "new york times" that would appear on a pod cast. and i think part of that is because they know that sort of a polarizing force. instead, they've had secretary kiersten nielson, the head of homeland security, be the face of this policy. she's been out there. she did the briefing on monday. i think it's interesting that you have some republicans calling on him to fire miller. i would note that kaufman is one of the most vulnerable republicans up for re-election. so it's not entirely a surprise there. he also signed this discharge petition to force action on
immigration. but i think you could see more republicans call for some changes, particularly with miller within the administration if this crisis is not truly solved. >> julia, let me play for you what attorney general jeff sessionsid in an interview after the president signed that executive order on thursday. let's listen. >> it hasn't been good. and the american people don't like the idea that we are separating families. we never really intended to do that. what we intended to do was to make sure that adults who bring children into the country are are charged with the crime they've committed. instead of giving that special group of adults immunity from prosecution, which is what in effect we were doing. so i think it's the right thing. we'll work our way through it and try to do it in the most compassionate way possible.
>> where does the administration go from here? >> it's interesting that you brought up jeff sessions. steven miller used to work for jeff sessions. we've seen their views on immigration in the past seem to mirror each other and being hard liners on the issue. but i think this is a public relations strategy from the administration to walk back some of their former statements on separating families at the border and being tough on law and order. i think we also saw that with the first lady's visit to the border earlier on thursday. i know that that was really over-shadowed by the whole jacket fiasco, but it was an effort to make the administration seem a bit more gentler on the issue because they had gotten a ton of backlash from more moderate republicans and in the news media and there was reporting that the president was convinced to sign this executive order because he saw all of the negative coverage in the news media. so i think that definitely played a role. >> melanie, i know you've been speak, republican lawmakers trying to overcome what is
already going to be this uphill battle even before president trump sent out the tweet yesterday telling them to stop wasting their time and to wait until november. let me play you what congresswoman claudia tennie said yesterday. >> i'm very conservative, but at the same time, i look at this, do we really want to have only a merit-based -- and i mean merit based on only bringing in engineers, lawyers, doctors, people with advanced degrees, or do we want to bring all kinds of people in, people who want to be part of the american dream. >> congresswoman tenney has been a strong supporter of the president since the beginning. what are you hearing from republicans as they weigh the political calculations on this? >> well, republicans have been wrestling with this divisive issue for months and is ahead of a critical midterm election. this is why gop leaders tried to avoid the issue. but look, i think at the end of the day, this congressman was
facing an uphill battle. it's going nowhere on capitol hill. the president tweeted yesterday that republicans should stop waste their time. last week he said he wouldn't sign it, then he urged republicans to sign it. i think gop leaders were hoping he would sort of breathe some life into this compromise bill, but he gave it the kiss of death yesterday. >> and julia, real quick, what's your thought on this? >> it really was the kiss of death. and i think that was a political calculation by the president on this matter. i think he was trying to be cautious before the midterms and that he didn't want to make the wrong decision on immigration signaling something in the future. however, i think immigration is -- the issue is not going out of the spotlight and i think this is an issue that democrats and republicans will have to reckon with prior to the midterms. and i believe from right now, it's going to have an impact in november. >> julia manchester, melanie, stay with me because we have much more to discuss, coming up. inside the courtroom at a federal criminal hearing for
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new developments in texas. a judge combined both pleas in sentencing of roughly 60 defendants into one giant hearing. msnbc legal analyst danny sevalis was in that courtroom yesterday. good morning, danny. good to have you. how will lumping dozens of defendants into one hearing affect each of their cases? >> the obvious result is that each defendant's case cannot possibly get the individualized attention that defendants are accustom to, especially in federal court. this kind of mass prosecution plea hearing and sentencing, you
might see this kind of thing in state course, but in federal court, it's a relative rarity. in my personal experience, you just don't see this kind of thing in federal court where the judge spends no more than a total of a few minutes going down the line, row by row, pointing to each defendant and getting on the record a yes, yes, no, no, do you accept this guilty plea. was this entered into of your own free will? these are questions called the colloquy which in a normal federal sentencing hearing can take an hour, maybe two for each individual defendant here. we're talking a matter of seconds. >> and what was your overall sense of how these cases were being handled? does this make sense to you? >> the federal defender is overwhelmed and to the same extent, though are the prosecutors. and the judge. the judge was less of a judge and more running a seminar standing right up next to the
rows with the defendants so they could be heard. and this is organized more like just taking a rough poll of a number of people rather than a guilty plea and sentencing hearing. what the effect is that because the government is ramping up prosecution of the misdemeanors as well as the felonies, it's the misdemeanors that caused the clogging of the court docket. it makes for dockets of 60 to 70 defendants in one day being sentenced and prosecuted en masse. and that is always a concern for the criminal justice system that the federal defender or defense attorneys with adequate time to provide effective assistance of counsel to their clients. >> danny, there were no parents that we saw in court, but what legal steps can parents take that they haven't been able to make any progress reuniting themselves with their children? >> as far as we know, there are
no parents that had been separated from their children by the u.s. government. there were many parents looking to get back to their children in whatever country they came from. but we don't know if that was an intentional choice by the government and by the government i mean prosecutors to only bring parents who had not been separated from their children. so we're not entirely sure if that's a policy change or if that was a cosmetic decision to prevent a large list of parents possibly asking about the whereabouts of their children. but i should add, the judge was very clear that had that question been raised by one of the defendants, that is not the province of criminal court and it is beyond the power of the judge or the prosecutors in that room to answer questions or resolve issues about where those particular defendants' children may be in the government system. >> so, danny, there's a legal settlement known as the flores agreement where the minors can
only be held for 20 days. so when they are release hadded to a family member or if they have no family, what happens then? >> there's a series of options under the flores settlement agreement that allow the government to place them ideally with a family member or some other guardian, but possibly with the government if there are no other options. over the many years that i've defended dependency in you'veny dli juvenile adolescent juvenile delenquincy, the government has never particularly been good at it. >> danny, thank you so much. michael cohen tweeting about tom arnold, why he's trying to set the record straight. that's up next. and before we take a break, melania's jacket uproar, it may
have said i really don't care, but the late night comics did. >> the first lady is getting a lot of flack for the jacket. her spokes woman said it's a jacket. there was no hidden message. well, no one thought the message was hidden. it was written in big letters on the back. >> nobody reall knows what it means or if it means anything at all. meanwhile, president trump was going through his closet like, where the hell is my coat? where is it? >> is the president now tweeting on his wife's clothes? >> a lot of people are giving her a hard time about it, but i think it's nice that she had a jacket made to display her wedding vows. dependability award for its midsize car-the chevy malibu. i forgot. chevy also won a j.d. power dependability award for its light-duty truck the chevy silverado. oh, and since the chevy equinox and traverse also won chevy is the only brand to earn the j.d. power dependability award across cars, trucks and suvs-three years in a row.
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recordings of president trump. but here is what the comedian said on msnbc yesterday. >> we know what was seized from his offices including a lot of audio recordings. did he promise to share those with you? >> to share with me? >> oh, oh, michael cohen, first of all, does not work for vice. i want to make that clear. he's not getting any money. he's probably broke. i shouldn't even say that. michael cohen did not make any promises with me. >> but you're working on it? >> oh, i'd love -- >> let's bring back melanie and julia. julia, to you first. that was you just one of three tv interviews that tom arnold did yesterday. what is going on here? >> right. so this isn't the first time someone speculated or said they had tapes with the president. so i think it's a lot of speculation and it was interesting because tom arnold tweeted a picture of michael cohen and said, you know, i love
new york, suggesting that he was hanging out with michael cohen and michael cohen quickly said, well, i appreciate his kind words. i'm not talking with him or communicating with him or whatever. so very interesting. i think it seems like tom arnold is trying to get in the fray, but there could be something i don't know. >> and, melanie, is there any clearer sense for what michael cohen will do now? >> this has been a long standing question and mystery in washington. but look, cohen is one of the trump's closest confidants, he's an ally, he's his pit bull. this is a guy who knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak. trump has always said there's no way he would ever do this. but i would point out cohen has a family and the reality is when you're staring down the barrel of a gun, it's different. >> cohen has a family, he has a lot at stake here, but at the
same time, he has a long history with president trump. he was his handler and very much connected with him. so it will be interesting to see where he goes. and how unusual is this to have somebody, melanie, somebody not in the political arena now sort of outing somebody in the political arena? >> in terms of washington, probably not that unusual. but look, it is certainly a bizarre couple of days to hear tom arnold sort of jump into the fray. he could be trying to draw attention for himself and the show that he's working on for vice, his effort to try and hunt down the staps. but we'll have to wait and see whether he actually has the goods or not. >> and your take on that, julia? >> yeah, yeah. it's not at all abnormal in trump's washington. lots of celebrities getting in on this. tom arnold was a husband of roseanne barr. he plays that that vocal, as well.
>> thank you so much for joining mess on this saturday morning. >> thanks. >> that will do it for me. i'm dara brown. thanks for watching. the top of the hour is hugh hewitt with mike pompeo, a must-see. but first, "your business" with j.j. ramberg. i'll take you there. take this left. if you listen real hard you can hear the whales. oop. you hear that? (vo) our subaru outback lets us see the world. sometimes in ways we never imagined. what does life look like during your period? it's up to you, with tampax pearl. you get ultimate protection on your heaviest days and smooth removal for your lightest. tampax pearl and pearl active. for up-to 100% leak-free work outs. man: it takes a lot of work
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good morning, everyone. coming up on msnbc's "your business," these twins created a sneaker that gives you better balance. but they were banned from the nba. father and daughter team phil and danielle on how to run a family business together and without conflict. and these happy sheep in montana are helping us a small apparel company compete with the big brands. when it comes to making choices for your business, we have your back. that's all coming up next on "your business."