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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  July 5, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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"today" so. >> good afternoon everybody. 2:00 here in the east, 11:00 in the west. president trump is on his way out west to montana, four hours from now he's set to hold a campaign rally. four days from now, of course, he is set to announce his supreme court pick. right now, nbc news has learned who is at the top of the president's list. the three most serious contenders are brett kavanaugh, amy coney barrett and raymond kethledge, all three are u.s. appeals court judges. back on capitol hill we are watching the political battle over that pending nomination play out. it is not just republican versus democrat on this one. it's also republican versus republican. "the washington post" highlights, quote, an intensifying debate over judge brett m. kavanaugh with conservative critics highlighting past rulings and his links to gop leaders while allies inside the white house forcefully defended him among the critics.
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powerful conservatives including republican senator ted cruz of texas who has argued once on the bench he will disappoint the right. so our big question this hour, in a selection process that is growing more contentious by the day, whose advice will president trump take on his supreme court pick? msnbc's garrett headacaake is i great falls, montana. pete williams is the justice correspondent for nbc news. robert costa a political reporter for the "washington post" and at nbc news and msnbc political analyst and caitlin huey-burns is a political report for real clear politics. thanks to everybody for being here. garrett, start with you, that list of three, what do we know about it and do we know if there is a pecking order within the list of three, a favorite and more of a long shot? >> it's always impossible to tell with this sort of thing, steve, because it's so much depends on the president's viewpoint at the moment and the person lobbying him most directly at the time. i can tell you we expect this to
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be a topic of conversation out here in montana as the president has done in other cases like this where he puts things up for almost a snap poll, brings it up with the crowd and tries to make it part of the reality show if you will of how he makes these choices. so no particular inside into the president's mind beyond those three picks and the idea that this is still very much an active process. >> well, pete williams, those three names, brett kavanaugh, amy coney barrett and raymond kethledge, any of them making it on to this court right now? what would -- how would it affect the balance of the court, those three names? >> well, any one of the three would move the court much more further -- much further to the conservative side. you would have five reliably conservative votes. you wouldn't have the swing vote of justice kennedy. that means probably upholding more state laws that would restrict access to abortion. it would mean probably more tolerance to positions where people argue that on behalf of
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their religious faith they cans serve same-sex couples, same-sex weddings, would probably mean perhaps a willingness to take up gun rights cases. curiously the supreme court, after in 2008 saying for the first time that the constitution, the second amendment, provides an individual right to have a gun, has dozens of times since then declined to take up any other questions including the hot questions about concealed carry and the use of the gun outside the home, perhaps with five conservative reliable votes the court would be willing to go where it hasn't gone before on gun rights. in those areas it would definitely move to the right. and in the larger picture here, i think any one of them would more or less move the court in the same direction, though, all of them would bring unique perspectives that would be different from the others. >> robert costa, let me ask you about that question of if president trump, who ultimately is he listening to here, where is he getting his counsel from on this?
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you have conservatives who are some conservatives at least mounting the campaign against brett kavanaugh, democrats in particular ratcheting up the rhetoric on amy coney barrett and apparently kethledge just sitting there. who is the president listening to on this do we know? >> influential conservative host rush limbaugh called it a whisper campaign on his program a few days ago and you see that on the right wing of the republican party, questions about judge kavanaugh and his rulings on health care and abortion issues. at the same time, the president's taking counsel of friends and associates as much as monitoring news coverage based on my conversations with white house officials. at this point it looks like the president still believes kavanaugh is at the top of his list or near the top of his list encouraged by white house counsel don mcgahn and then kethledge and judge coney barrett. >> what is it about kavanaugh that puts him at the top of the list? >> what puts him at the top of the list his judicial record and support from a lot of people
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inside the white house and outside of the white house who see him as the kind of pick who would follow in the judge gorsuch model on the supreme court which holding the president up and we've reported this at the post is his connection to george w. bush. judge kavanaugh worked as an adviser in the bush 43 white house. >> and caitlin, the objectships, let's take a kavanaugh then. the objections from conservatives, how deeply held is that view on the right and how much influence could that ultimately have here? >> the objections now that are being voiced publicly and privately are because there isn't the pick yet, right, so this idea of trying to sway the president's opinion through that. what's also interesting to consider is the way in which gorsuch hangs over all of this. as the president consistently touts gorsuch as a key achievement of his presidency, not only that he got to pick the supreme court justice, but that people by and large at least
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supporters of the president really like him and he had a relatively low -- relatively less dramatic confirmation battle. the president has to consider the way in which this pick whoever emerges on monday, gets through that nominating fight. the margin is so narrow in the senate and they're looking at about five senators who could kind of sway the court on this one. >> yeah. i mean, pete, you've seen these through the years. any of these three candidates stand out to you as particularly confirmble or particularly problematic when it comes to that path to confirmation? >> well, they each have pluses and minuses. both kethledge and kavanaugh are former kennedy clerks and i think that may count for the white house because i think they wanted justice kennedy to feel it would be possible for him to step down and know that somebody he would be comfortable with would take his seat. so that may factor into this.
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amy barrett would bring the number of supreme court justices to four. i can't think of a time when someone who is a judge and that's been the recent trend here, certainly were times in the past where you didn't have to be a judge to be on the supreme court, but now seems to be a desire, so that you have someone with clear record and you know what they're going to do, i can't think of a time when someone was a judge for less than a year. she's been on the federal court of appeals put there by president trump for eight months now. so her philosophy is pretty well known but largely through law review articles, some written when she was a law clerk. so she may be a little more of a cipher here looking for a positive record than kavanaugh who has written something close to 300 judicial opinions or raymond kethledge who was looked at the last time around as well. >> and garrett, where you are right now becomes very important, montana, john tester a democrat, is running for re-election there. this november, this is a state that donald trump won by 20 points in 2016.
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doesn't seem at all coincidental that donald trump is out there right now. tester voted against the gorsuch nomination last year. joined democrats in trying to filibuster that nomination. is he seen -- is the attitude here that he can be persuaded because of his re-election? >> this is going to put john tester in a difficult position, no matter who the president picks. he didn't just vote against gorsuch, he voted against mike pompeo, gina haspel and known to the president for being the main person who stopped ronny jackson to be veterans affairs secretary. tester's re-election campaign is predicated on working with president trump when he thinks it's good for montana. he's running an ad in every major newspaper touting bills he has worked on that the president has signed. any big public break from the president is a risky proposition for tester in a state that did vote overwhelmingly for the
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president, has a democratic governor. the more that the supreme court is an issue, closer and closer to november, the more difficult it will be for him to swim in these waters, whereas his republican opponent will be standing side by side to president trump and velcroed himself to the president to his advantage. >> the flip side of this, we talk about these democrats in red states, also the republican wild cards and really the big republican wild card right now is susan collins, the signal she's sending about roe. when you look at these three potential picks we're talking about here, do you see susan collins having issues with any of them? >> it seems when you look at kavanaugh being described as the more establishment pick that could give cover to some like susan collins or lisa murkowski, given that, you know, his positions aren't as entrenched on the issue of roe v. wade and other more socially aligned -- where conservatives are more aligned as amy coney barrett, for example. what's interesting to see is,
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whether the red state democrats can wait to see whether republicans consolidate around whoever the pick is going to be. if susan collins or lisa murkowski or anybody else breaks from the pack they give political cover for some of the democrats make it a little easier for them to cross over and support whomever emerges as the nominee. >> and robert costa, i am curious when it comes to this president and just sort of his style, we always talk about the polarization, weigh on him at all in a way that might attract one of these candidates, make one of these candidates attractive to him, the level of democratic opposition? i noted last -- in the last couple days intense democratic concerns being registered about amy coney barrett, is that something trump might look at and say that makes me more likely to want this candidate? >> in fact, steve, allies of judge kethledge, raymond kethledge, have been passing on tweets to me today from senator chuck schumer criticizing judge kethledge and they think that
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could play in his favor if those tweets surface in front of the president on his way to mon tan. >> interesting politicking behind the scenes. thank you. pete williams to you. garrett haake, caitlin huey-burns. appreciate that. just to put in context here we're talking about susan collins and talking about john tester, the math in the senate, democrats come into this fight with only 49 votes if they want to stop a trump nominee they got to flip a republican. they got to hold their side together. and again on the republican side, all the suspense is susan collins. she is the republican expressing publicly potential reservations. if she were to say no to one of these picks, especially on the grounds of roe, would that signal lisa murkowski, the other pro choice republican in the senate. could there be two there. that is balanced against that other really reality we're talking about, these red state democrats, facing the voters in 2018, manchin in west virginia, trump won the state by 42 points. donnelly in indiana, trump won
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by 20 points. hide camp in a trump plus 36 state. the wild card we're saying today john tester, tester has been voting against a lot of these trump nominations. the supreme court nomination last year as well. trump in montana today trying to turn up the heat. he did carry the state by 20 points. could you crank up enough heat on tester. if tester if he's leaning towards being a no, the recent polling out of montana has has him ahead in the high single digits. his political health may be better than heitkamp in north dakota. another wild card, doug jones, not up this year but this is alabama, the circumstances of his win in that special election, very strange last year, he's up in 2020. obviously those sort of red state politics weigh on him too. always keep the math in mind there. democrats trying to hold the line. republicans, you know, as well if they hold the line they can pass any nominee. that's the math. turning now also to new reporting, the government is now
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planning to use dna testing to match migrant children with their parents after being separated at the border. hhs secretary says the agency is struggling to meet a court-ordered 30-day deadline to reunite 30,000 children with their families. i'm joined by nbc national security and justice reporter julia ainsley. so julia, dna testing, numbers here of children who still haven't been reunited what can you tell us about this? >> steve, the number jumped out today and said nearly 3,000 children have not been reunited with their parents. we previously put that number somewhere around 2,000. the reason it's bigger is because the court mandate is having them go back before trump started the zero tolerance policy. prior to that about may 6th or so, even prior to may 6th, they were separating some children just on a smaller scale. now they have more children and they say some children may not realize whether they were separated by border agents or whether they were separated by
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smugglers on their journey. those separated by smugglers would not qualify for reunification. they have a bigger problem than they thought and in order to comply with these court deadlines they're going to have to start doing dna testing. to get a birth certificate and check it with the consulate in the home country would take too long. that raises a lot of privacy concerns for activists who say once this dna is used, taken from the children, taken by the parents it could be used in a way to track them through biometric data and keep tabs on them through the country. i asked that question on the call and they said that they would only use dna evidence for this one purpose. but, of course, some people are pretty up in arms about the fact that they would use it in this way. >> thanks for staying on top of the story. good reporting there. thank you. coming up, another nerve agent attack in the uk. fingers are already being pointed at russia. live at scotland yard next. as we head to break, also there is this, meet the newest member
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of the white house communications team. the president announcing that bill shine is joining the white house as a new assistant to the president, deputy chief of staff for communications will be his title. shine is the former co-president of fox news. he spent 20 years also producing for sean hannity. we'll be right back. - i love my grandma. - anncr: as you grow older, your brain naturally begins to change which may cause trouble with recall. - learning from him is great... when i can keep up! - anncr: thankfully, prevagen helps your brain and improves memory. - dad's got all the answers. - anncr: prevagen is now the number-one-selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide. - she outsmarts me every single time. - checkmate! you wanna play again? - anncr: prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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agent. investigators are investigating this as a potential attack on serg guy skripal and his daughter yulia in march. theresa may said she was troubled by the second poisoning and vowed to get to the bottom of it. >> to see two more people exposed to the novichok in the uk is deeply disturbing and the police i know will be leaving no stone unturned in their investigation. >> i'm joined by nbc correspondent matt bradley. the second poisoning here, what do we know about this in particular. . >> well, we just got some breaking news, steve, from right behind me the counterterrorism unit. they said that they now believe that this couple actually came into contact with part of this novichok poisoning.
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they believe it sounds like they came into contact with a residue from the previous poisoning. that was four months ago, steve. kind of hard to believe this stuck around for so long. we know this couple the day before they reported feeling ill, that they had been walking around as you mentioned nearby salisbury, about seven or eight miles from where this couple live in nearby amesbury. so it's quite likely they came into contact with this poison there in salisbury, maybe at a park, maybe they picked something up, but steve, as you know, that's going to create a whole raft of new questions for the british authorities. why was this area not scrubbed clean like the british officials said it was in march and like they said it was this week? >> yeah. do we -- this second couple here talking about, do we know anything about them? they're sort of random passersby or are they connected to the intelligence? what do we know about them? >> we don't know very much and they keep a very low profile.
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the police here, steve, have been saying that they have no connection to global intrigue, international espionage, to russia. it's known that they are -- they're presently -- they're unemployed, in their 40s, drug users, and, in fact, they had a history of using drugs and that was one of the reasons why the police initially were reluctant to come to any conclusions about this because a lot of these symptoms, the sweating profusely, the garbled speech, passing out unconscious as you will hear from one of their friends, these are consistent with drug use. the young man that called the ambulance for one of the couple he described some of the symptoms they were experiencing. his name is sam hopson. listen up. >> you start asking where and he felt he had been poisoned. >> reporter: so basically what we're talking about is symptoms that would be consistent with drug use, heroin use, crack
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cocaine and that's why the police were so reluctant to originally attribute this to novichok and took the better part of a couple days to come to the conclusion we had seen another poisoning from a very, very rare nerve agent that's really -- produced very few places outside of the former soviet union. >> all right. matt bradley outside scotland yard in london, thank you for that. michael cohen, meanwhile, is distancing himself from the president on-line. this is deadline day arrivings for the trump organization to wrap up its review of documents seized from cohen's office straight ahead. and now for the rings. (♪)
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together to make a difference for other people's lives. together, we're building a better california. we have breaking news and sad news about a former member of the msnbc family. journalist ed schultz has died at the age of 64. we got word of his passing a short time ago. ed started his career in fargo, north dakota in the 1980s before hosting "the ed show" on msnbc. he had worked with our team. ed schultz passing away at the age of 64. meanwhile, today is the deadline for the trump organization to complete its review of the last of nearly 4 million files seized from donald
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trump's former lawyer, michael cohen. the fbi -- by the fbi before recommending which ones should be protected under attorney-client privilege. cohen used part of his fourth of july to distance himself from the president, deleting references from his twitter bio and updated his linkedin account claiming he is no longer president trump's personal attorney and he served in that role from january 2017 to june of 2018. for more let's bring in nbc news intelligence and national security reporter ken delaney. ken, thanks for joining us. there is -- everyone trying to figure out what abc news interview that michael cohen did part of a legal strategy or public relations strategy. now you've got him changing his on-line profile a bit. what do we make of that? >> well, one of the theories with that interview was that he was reaching out to donald trump almost asking in public for a pardon, saying look, i'm about to flip, mr. trupresident, take this into account.
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the move to dissociate from himself on twitter and linkedin suggest he's preparing to make a deal. he's got a lawyer, new lawyer, don't forget with close ties to the southern district of new york, the u.s. attorney's office investigating him for bank fraud, tax fraud, and wire fraud, and as you said, today was the deadline for the trump organization to go through these thousands and thousands of documents out of 4 million files the feds seized from cohen's office and home to see which ones of these were privileged. the real story is a very small number of them, however this shakes out, are going to be deemed to have been privileged and the vast majority of them will go to federal prosecutors and that cannot be good news for president trump because michael cohen was involved in some of the most sensitive dealings that donald trump had over the last decade, including paying off two women who alleged they had affairs with trump and that trump tower moscow deal while donald trump was running in the republican primary. michael cohen was trying to get a deal to build a tower in moscow. he knows a lot.
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whether he knows about illegality is another question. but it's -- it can't be good news for the president of the united states. >> in terms of the timing here from michael cohen, you say the possibility here of a deal, what is the timetable that we would be looking at for something like that? >> well, it could happen at any moment, but one thing is -- we have no indication that he has sat down with prosecutors and met with them, offered what's known as a proffer where they -- where he explains what exactly he would testify to. what he has to offer essentially in exchange for leniency. that -- as far as we know has not happened yet. that would be the first step to any deal. and then it could happen very quickly, steve. >> all right. ken delaney, thank you for taking the time. the white house reporter for the daily beast and former assistant u.s. attorney and independent counsel in the whitewater investigation. kim, let me start with you. how do you interpret what michael cohen is doing here. kent says this is a possibility
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that signals some kind of deal, angling some kind of deal, is that how you read this? >> i would read it the same way. new counsel, counsel that does have close ties to the southern district of new york, respected by that office, used to work for former fbi director comey but publicly distanced himself from the attacks on the justice department and fbi coming out of the trump administration. he's -- he has suggested it's not a witch hunt. he said the fbi treated him well during the search. there are lots of ways this is inconsistent with the michael cohen we knew from the fall saying he would do anything for this president. so i would say -- i think like we saw with michael flynn and we saw with rick gates there could be a shift in his position here in that he could be not only pleaing soon but has probably already started discussions with the southern district of new york if not the mueller team. >> and oswin, do we have any sense how the president and folks around him are responding
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to this and how they would deal with the sort of possibility we're discussing here? >> well, the president and those around him are very much so in a we'll see or wait and see mode with regards to michael cohen right now. for the past several weeks and months, those closest to the president, particularly working in the administration, have been doing everything they can to put as much distance between michael cohen and donald j. trump as much as possible. this is something that increasingly over the last few weeks, especially since the feds raid on him, has spooked michael cohen. people we've spoken to who are close and friends with cohen, have told us that he is scared and that he feels that not just the white house, but president trump himself could be completely ditching or discarding him in the near future and fears that when the chips are down, president trump will not have his back. so however this shakes out, that sort of fear is very actively
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driving michael cohen's agenda right now. >> kim, if he is -- if there is a plea deal, if there is some kind of cooperation, i guess it still remains to be seen, how exactly that would or wouldn't impact president trump himself personally. >> absolutely. michael cohen has been close to this president prior to the inauguration and the election. and there are two lines of inquiry really. on the one hand the obstruction of justice questions that the mueller team is looking at and i would assume not a whole lot of overlap there, if any, with mr. cohen and then sort of a follow the money track. i mean are there any transactions that mr. cohen is aware of that mr. trump himself or the trump organization were involved in and whether those transactions were somehow illegal. remember the stormy daniels payment was put in an account that would also receive money, lots of money, from corporations, from russian oligarchs, so questions with respect to a pay to play type scenario that could have criminal implications and as far
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as distancing from the white house, i mean there is not a whole lot mr. president trump could do, call off the investigation, which would create tremendous problems constitutionally as a matter of separation of powers or preemptive broad pard than in my mind first of all would be constitutionally suspect to the extent to which it was seeking to obstruct an investigation and secondly wouldn't affect any state crimes that mr. cohen might be liable for. his partner in the taxicab business already pled guilty to tax fraud. so it remains to be seen the breadth that mr. cohen can in terms of information the breadth of information he has to share with the southern district and whether that's going to bleed over into the mueller investigation. >> yeah. oswin, reporting too that part of michael cohen's motivation with the abc news interview might have been about the idea of changing the narrative in the court of public opinion about him. has it been changed? >> i don't think it has.
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part of that has to do with the fact that michael cohen is seeing now is the real michael cohen if we are to take the real as the up with who has publicly cultivated an image for over the past several years. i mean, this is trump's personal attorney and pit bull and fixer who unambiguously publicly presented himself as the person for years has been willing to ruin lives and cut throats faster and harder for donald trump than anybody else and yet, this week, he's trying to present himself not only as someone who could perhaps be snitching, as people in trump world have derisively called it by cooperating with the feds, or -- but also that he's begging the media not to think of him or portray him as a bad guy, by has been very much his brand over the last few years. >> thanks to both of you. and multiple investigations, a flood of allegations, and very -- quite a few ethic
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scandals as well. scott pruitt yet still remains at the helm of the epa. will the president finally get involved? that's next. with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, are you okay? even when i was there, i never knew when my symptoms would keep us apart. so i talked to my doctor about humira. i learned humira can help get, and keep uc under control when other medications haven't worked well enough. and it helps people achieve control that lasts. so you can experience few or no symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. be there for you, and them.
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appear that concern is enough for president trump to show pruitt the door. white house deputy press secretary told reporters this is, quote, something the president is concerned about but that the president feels as though pruitt has done a really good job at deregulating the government to allow for a thriving economy. here to break down pruitt's problems is ken vogel from "the new york times" and gop strategist and political analyst susan dell purseo. on the politics of this, there have been some republicans out there in the last week or two that have expressed some real concerns about pruitt, not hearing a real drumbeat here, though. what's the reason there hasn't been any -- we haven't heard more calls for him to go? >> well, i'm not sure. at this point it seems like it could be a great tool for gop members of the house in swing districts to come out against pruitt. it can show some independence. it's a way for them to show they're just not in lockstep with the president. because this is a really bad guy
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at the end of the day. 15 investigations. i believe two democrats came out calling for an i.g. investigation. two more -- or more republicans should. we have the tuesday group and the solutions group. this is something that could have bipartisan support and again, it could be very helpful to those members of congress in swings districts. >> and can we say, 15 different matters, 15 investigations. how much of this -- how much of these -- all of these allegations are things that pruitt is contesting, is denying, versus how much is -- are things he's just saying, yeah, you know, no real defense, i'll just keep going forward? >> he has done little of the latter actually accepting or acknowledging that he is in the wrong in any of these situations. what he has instead done is contest in several cases and also more commonly, blamed his staff. we saw that a lot when he was before the congressional oversight committees and it's beyond just blaming staff for
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things like his first-class travel or his use of motorcades or even the installation of the $43,000 soundproof security audio booth. he's and his allies have gone after who they believe to be the sources of these leaks by planting or attempting to plant stories about them in the conservative press. we've seen this most acutely with a guy by the name of kevin, a trump loyalist, early trump campaign staffer, who became pruitt's deputy chief of staff. he has made a number of allegations including recently that pruitt kept the second secret calendar that didn't have meetings that might be controversial with lobbyists and the like on it and seen pruitt and his ally the direct a harsh spotlight to what they contend are improprieties by this former staffer, i should say. >> is the hesitation in the white house here, susan, this idea of trump as he doesn't want to give in to his critics, his
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administration's critics on everything? something a little more complicated involving the senate is 51-49, do we want to deal with a new confirmation battle? what do you think it is? >> all of the above. they just -- this president doesn't like to make -- admit he's made mistakes and you're right, getting a confirmation through the senate right now would be extremely difficult. but at the end of the day, i think it's -- trump's warped sense of loyalty. let's face it, it's not hard to find another person, another republican, to carry out that agenda. it's not one i agree with, but certainly there are people red in line. the other thing, scott pruitt has to be the worst boss ever. i have never seen so many current and former staffers speak out against their employer in washington as we have in this last three or four months. >> and in terms of the function of the epa administrator and running that agency, ken, what has scott pruitt -- he's been a
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lightning rod when you take the ethics considerations aside, a lightning rod for the left, what has he done with that office? >> i mean, he has carried out the deregulatory agenda. you see the rule they're running to what had been called under the obama administration the clean power plan, this is a plan, set of rules, that regulates carbon emissions from coal powered plants, so we are seeing them water down that rule. that's something that is quite pleasing to particularly major donors, but the -- the energy industry writ large and it's one that has long been a priority for the right. scott pruitt is accomplishing it. to this bigger question as to whether anyone who is in that position might be -- might be doing the same thing and might come with fewer headaches, that i think is the one that a lot of republicans are asking that is leading them to determine that the calculus and favor of
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keeping scott pruitt versus replacing him with someone else might point more towards replacing him. >> all right. ken vogel and susan dell purseo, thanks to both of you. grassroots efforts are going digital as more and more americans are jumping into political activism for the first time. chris jansing joins up with a website helping democrats trying to flip districts. >> there's an opening. we talk human to human about why having a democrat in this district affects not just their neighbors in their own district but neighbors in neighboring districts that your vote will help my family even though i don't live in this district. i'm ray and i quit smoking with chantix.
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my favorite role so far? being a non-smoker. no question about it. talk to your doctor about chantix. donald trump surprise election has spurred an explosion of activism among his political opponents. many liberals have their sights set on this november trying to win back the house, maybe even the senate. among those trying to turn the left's energy into a political victory is a group called swing left. our own chriss jansing takes a look at their unique strategy. >> reporter: in a broadway theater packed with celebrities the night's unlikely star is a freelance writer turned political power player, ethan
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whitehill. after donald trump won, he felt just like these folks did. >> i was feeling, you know, despondent and depressed. >> reporter: like new yorkers he lives in a deep blue congressional district in western massachusetts. >> i was looking for a place where i could make a difference, and i found a new york 19 just across the border. >> reporter: he also found out that 75% of americans have a congressional swing district within 50 miles and believed that if he could convince those blue district democrats to help out in their nearest winnable district the house of representatives could swing left. so he came up with swing left.org, where people like chris goldburg. >> enter your zip code here. so i'm in west hollywood. a blue district. >> yep. >> maybe one of the bluest. and search and it says what my closest swing district is which is california 25 and so this is -- >> that's where you're standing right now. >> i've been standing the last
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year or so coming up here almost every weekend. >> reporter: he's not alone, the website launched the day after the inauguration. by the end of the first weekend 200,000 people had signed up. today,up. today it's pushing 400,000. volunteers like steve and melinda. >> my husband said let's have a party. i said sure. he put out the invitation. we got a lot of people really quickly, then we got over 100. we had to move from our house down to the church. >> you got 100 people? >> almost 200 people. >> people just waiting for a way to channel their frustration into action. >> how many of you guys are from outside of this district? wow. keep 'em up, keep 'em up. that's amazing. >> so in california district 25 in the shadow of the reagan library, 200 people went canvassing last sunday. >> were you nervous about knocking on doors the first time? >> yes, i was very nervous. >> now they tell me it's cathartic, even addicting. >> i cannot go away, i cannot.
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every time i go out and meet another democrat and they say thank you so much for coming, i can't wait to vote. >> add to that swing left manpower, money. they set up innovative district funds. you donate to a district, not a person, and the eventual primary winner gets the cash. in cal 25, that's katie hill. >> it is my great pleasure to hand over this check from the grassroots. >> thank you so much. >> you beat a slew of other people on election night. how much money did you have left? >> we had almost nothing left. we spent pretty much down to zero. >> the group gave her $164,000, with more coming in every day. swing left is now in 78 congressional districts in 29 states. whole families are turning out, like the bartletts. >> why swing left? >> it takes a village to flip a house, so -- >> did you make that up, it takes a village to flip a house? >> i guess i just did. >> that's pretty good.
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>> back on broadway, ethan is winning over more converts. >> can mandy pitiken who's famous knock on doors? >> absolutely we do. >> and the party's host, fresh off winning a tony, has his eye on a different prize now, control of the house. >> you either lay down or you say i'm going to stand up, i'm going to join with you, i'm going to join with you, i'm going to join with you and i'm going to make this change. >> and for more on her reporting, let's bring in msnbc senior national correspondent chris jansing. chris, it's fascinating. before the break we had susan del percio, republican consult an ant. she's seen your piece and she was awed by what they have put together by this app. >> it's a website. >> i'm so used to saying app. i'm remembering the howard dean campaign in 2004. all those volunteers who
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descendinged on iowa. one of the tissues was, were thy seen as outsiders? >> they could be literally blocks or a couple of miles away. some come further like the guy who went from west hollywood up into the seimi valley. but the concerns are the same. they're very relatable. they'll say i'm a teacher over here. these are not folks from california going to iowa. these are folks from california going nearby to california. the other thing that's unique, you know these hundreds of groups, grassroots groups that sprung up after donald trump was elected, many of them are progressive. this is an agnostic group. they did not choose sides in the primaries. they are working on the idea that all politics is local. that the locals know what they want and what their particular needs are. and so as i said, until they actually have a primary winner, somebody with a "d" beside their
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name that's going to be on the ballot, they don't get that money. look, $164,000 is a lot of money when you're done with your campaign and you have nothing. however, in the california 25, the koch brothers are putting in a couple of million. so they're not pretending that they can compete with something like that. where they can compete is with those folks neighbor to neighbor and making those phone calls. >> california 25, that's one of those i'm thinking ahead to election night in november. the story of who controls the house. chris jansing, that's a really interesting report. thank you for that. we have one more thing after the break. (vo) why are subaru outback owners always smiling? because they've chosen the industry leader. subaru outback holds its value better than any other vehicle in its class, according to alg. better than rav4. better than grand cherokee. better than edge. make every adventure a happy one with subaru outback.
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in one more thing before we go, the associated press reports that last august at the height of the political and economic unrest in venezuela, president trump pressed his top aides with a sobering question, why can't the u.s. invade the country? senior administration official familiar with the meeting tells the a.p. that trump asked that question after discussing sanctions, which were ultimately placed on venezuela. now, at the time this reportedly happened, h.r. mcmaster was still the president's national security advisor and rex tillerson was still the secretary of state. both were reportedly in the room and equally stunned by the president's question and spent five minutes discussing reasons why an invasion would work against u.s. interests. trump the next day talked publicly about a military option and again in september on the
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sidelines of the u.n. general assembly. the president kicked off a private dinner with latin american allies and said my staff told me not to say this and then proceeded to ask every leader at the table what they thought of a military option. all expressed opposition. the white house has declined to comment on the a.p. report. that will wrap things up for this hour. i'm steve kornacki in for katy tur. good afternoon to you. i'm ali velshi. with just four days to go until president trump announces his pick for the next justice for the supreme court, the search process is playing out like a political campaign. axios' mike allen puts it, quote, it will be more about personality than pedigree. and aides won't be surprised if he jumped the gun and appeared with his nominee in the next few days. nbc news has learned that the three most serious contenders are brett kavanaugh, amy coney barrett and raymond kethledge.
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the president is on his way to montana rallying candidates to push out democrats in states where he's won. that's not the only item on the white house agenda. the administration confirmed that trump and vladimir putin will have a one-on-one meeting later this month. joining me with the latest is hans nichols. lots to talk about right now. let's start first with the supreme court issue, the idea that the president is looking for somebody with whom he's got chemistry. why is this important to him? >> reporter: well, the president wants to present someone to the public and do it in a dramatic fashion that he feels meets the criteria both intellectually and physical -- the appearance of a supreme court justice. we saw that happen with neil gorsuch. he brought him out. he looked like someone from central casting. we've seen this throughout the trump administration. we also know that trump places a great premium on having a rapp

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