tv Deadline White House MSNBC July 9, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
all right. that's going to wrap up the hour for me. i'm going to be back right here tomorrow 11:00 eastern with stephanie ruhle then at 3:00 p.m. eastern. thanks for watching. "deadline white house" starts right now. /s >> hello, everybody. it's 4:00 in washington. i'm peter alexander and i'm in for nicolle wallace. the president has made his pick for the supreme court. he is of course keeping that name close to the vest. just hours away from this big made-for-tv reveal. here's what we can tell you right at this hour. a source with firsthand knowledge of the president's thought process telling me heading into this day of the top four contenders, two front runners had emerged. judges brett kavanagh and thomas hardiman, appeals court judges. though my sources stressing that no one, at least heading into this morning, had been eliminated. that now changing. the reality show president spending the weekend jenning up all this intrigue around the
primetime roll out keeping the thought process under wraps leaving even some of his own aides basically in the dark about what is happening here. "the new york times" writing the following. quote, mr. trump, while an incorrigible gossip, over the past three days he has stoked uncertainty even among his closest aides by asking lots of questions but offering little in return according to those who have spoken to him. we know the president has a tendency to fixate on metrics, ratings, but that might not be all that is motivating him, not this time, as the secrecy and fanfare appear to be distracting from a series of punishing headlines facing the white house. look at these. a major set back over the weekend in north korea. criticism of his relationship with vladimir putin in the run up to this first u.s./russia one on one summit. and perhaps most significantly,
the mueller probe. signs that trump's legal team is recalibrating its strategy, raising concerns that the president may be backed into a corner. joining me now on set, chuck rosenberg, former u.s. attorney and former senior fbi official now an msnbc contributor. former democratic congresswoman donna edwards is here. sarah f sar sarah fagan, a cnbc contributor. and heidi przybyla, the nbc news national political correspondent. heidi, let's talk about this if we can. this is a show man. this is a guy who did the apprentice. this is a guy who likes primetime. now he's trying to put on a show for americans, building this sort of bachelorette type theme where he's going to hand out the rose at 9:00. this is a white house that 0 said they don't set artificial time lines. he set one for himself here. >> one of the favorite parts of the job, he's a showman. it's reminiscent of how he picked his cabinet. it's reminiscent of how he
rolled out gorsuch. the lead of "the new york times," he's done everything but cut the 15-second spot here on gorsuch. it also serves in effect, too, if you see on twitter, he is driving his base to the television cameras tonight at 9:00 -- >> distracting -- >> this is a promise he made to all of the evangelical voters who held their nose, some of them, to vote for him was no matter what, i will deliver for you on the supreme court and tonight is the payoff. >> it's driving attention away from all these headlines that have been problematic for him. >> momentarily in the 24-hour news cycle. they'll be back. >> talk to me quickly about sean hannity. sources tell me the president this weekend at his golf course in bedminster, he was there with sean hannity. sean hannity was a supporter of amy coney barrett. this is a staunch conservative pick coming into this final round. in this theme that the president often listens to the last person in the room, what does it say that sean hannity was sean
hannity was the last one in his ear? >> that is a disconnect in the reporting showing amy coney barrett is not one of the final picks. sean hannity may have a final word, but that is a separate story about the tight connections between this white house and fox news, also coming at the same time that former executive bill shine is now taking over the communications job. >> help me, sarah, if you can, and donna here, help me get a better understanding what message each one of these picks would send. amy coney barrett would fire up the base. we know he's all in at his base. there is a different calculus here. how do you see any of these picks sending messages and to whom? >> for starters, all these four picks are strict constructionist. they're all going to be great. the base, any problems they may have had with one individual pick or one case, they would quickly unite behind whoever the president picks. having said that, though, there
is a real difference, i think, between kethledge and hardiman and brett kavanagh. this assumes amy barrett is in the final running. both great judges, but thinner track records. if you select kavanagh, you're looking to somebody who you think will move the supreme court, who will be an influencer on the supreme court as opposed to one of the other two who perhaps would have an easier time getting through the senate simply because of the number of records. >> donna, how do the democrats fight back here? is there one that's easier to pick off so to speak for democrats to sort of fuel a strong fight against? is there one that the democrats think this is our best chance to make sure the republicans can't hold steady and pass this, confirm this individual? >> well, i think certainly judge barrett is one of those choices, but let's be really clear. all four of these are choices that donald trump knows would put in jeopardy some of the things that democrats care most about, whether it's choice or it's civil rights or affirmtive action, labor rights. all of these things -- >> is this for the president, is he doing this, is he trying to
antagonize democrats with one pick over the other? what's going on? >> the president has never really cared that much about the midterms. he cares about his own prospects, reelection prospects. that's why he's been playing to the base so much. look, it's really clear that democrats don't have a lot of tools in their tool box, but they need to use every single one of them because i'm worried that not fighting in the right kind of way, not really giving it the all so that our base can see it is going to affect turnout and maybe just the spirit of democrats, which i think has been high going into the midterms. so, how democrats fight on this one i think is really important. >> so, what happens in those states, red state democrats, right? you have joe manchin, donley in indiana, heidi hide camp in north dakota. these are democrats who supported judge gorsuch the first go around. this time there's going to be a lot of pressure on them. the president is putting the pressure on to support these. is it a no-brainer for democrats to say we have to stand up to
this? do they think about the next midterm election or do they think about the supreme court for generation s to come? >> the supreme court, we're talking about a 40-year deal as opposed to another reelection. judge gorsuch, remember, was sort of a replacement for scalia. this is a different kind of choice to replace kennedy, and so i think it's going to be really important for democrats to look at all of the record and to be very probing and to continue to put that pressure on senators collins and murkowski because i think it's also clear donald trump made another promise, and that was about roe v. wade. so that is not off the table even if it isn't self-evident in a barrett versus a kavanagh or hardiman. >> chuck, let's take a step back here. has there frz been a time the president is making a supreme court pick where their own self-interests were at stake here, where they were the subject of an fbi investigation? this is a president who was always driven by his own
self-value, self-interest. is this unprecedented, this moment? >> i think it is literally unprecedented, peter. even nixon wasn't appointing justices to the supreme court during watergate so it makes it different. but there is an important "but" here and it is this. regardless of who he puts on the supreme court and i agree with your panelist. it's going to be one of the four. they're going to be conservative. the supreme court precedent that very clearly says in u.s. v. nixon, the president cannot assert executive privilege to keep documents and materials from a grand jury. there is another really important case, clinton v. jones that says a sitting president has to submit to a civil deposition and those were both unanimous decisions, peter. i think regardless of who the pick is, and despite the fact that he's picking someone while he's the subjects of an investigation, there is very clear precedent about what a president must do in response to an investigation. >> but, donna, which of these potential contenders would potentially most haunt the president, right? there is a lot about judge
kavanagh's past. he was working on batch of george bush, supporting ken starr in the prosecution of bill clinton. is that one knock on kavanagh? if the president is thinking about it, why would he think about someone who went after a president? >> as these senators interview whomever the nominee is, those are questions they ask really directly and on the record because, not just about press department, but also asking more specifically about their thoughts about and probing what their thoughts about whether a president can and should submit to a subpoena. and what we know the outcome of this investigation might be. >> i think chuck makes a good point. the amount of hand wringing about these theoretical cases that might happen if the president is subpoenaed and the white house sues. you know -- >> but isn't that the way this president thinks?
a lot of times it's what's in it for me. >> all presidents think about that, perhaps donald trump more than previous ones. but democrats are working themselves into a lather over a whole bunch of hypothetical situations. we don't know that there's going to be supreme court case related to this investigation. there isn't a case at this point. >> isn't that one of the things that kavanagh is on the record, though? and maybe it was borne out of his experience with the ken starr investigation, but he's actually on the record saying that he believes that a president should be granted temporary deferral from criminal or civil proceedings because it hurts his ability to perform his job. >> so, let me read what "the new york times" reports. "the new york times" reporting the president's lawyer set new conditions on friday on an interview with the special counsel and said it will be voluntary, growing increase willing i unlikely. his declaration was the latest sign the president's lawyer who long cooperated quietly with the inquiry even as their client attacked it have shifted to an
openly combative stansz. that is the backdrop to the decision the president is about to make this evening. >> you bet it is. i've been a federal prosecutor a long time, peter. the person getting interviewed does not get to set the conditions under which he's interviewed. that's just fantasy. >> is there some point that robert mueller -- you worked with him for some period of time. >> i did. >> -- would be willing to say these guys are refusing to cooperate with me? what would it take for robert mueller to say, the white house is refusing to cooperate? >> it seems like he's refusing to cooperate right now regardless. prosecutors mueller among them have another sort of card in the deck. they can issue a grand jury subpoena. now, i think sarah is right. if that happens and we don't know that it will, it would be contested. it would likely go to the supreme court. but again, there is clear precedent that a president ultimately is going to have to answer questions. and so mueller does not have to engage in this back and forth, this game with rudy giuliani and company. at some point he simply says,
you know what, here's your grand jury subpoena. we'll see you in court. >> donna, let me ask you about this, then, more broadly. you have trump defying a subpoena. would that, could that trigger a constitutional crisis? what is the risk of the president pushing back and effectively defying a snp >> i think, you know, the reality is that the president were to defy a subpoena, you can hear this coming from republicans in the senate in particular that that would be a line that's too far. i mean -- >> and this would be tested before the supreme court. >> but defying the rule of law, and i think for some senators more than a constitutional crisis, it would signal a crisis for this presidency in the form perhaps of an impeachment should he defy it. it will end up being decided by the supreme court, but the politics of it, i think, are going to drive the decision of senators about how to judge this president. >> sarah? >> well, it might end up in the supreme court. i mean, we're all assuming it's going to end up in the supreme
court. if he in fact -- >> does that mean the president is assuming this could end up in the supreme court? >> i don't know what he is or isn't assuming. i do know that, you know, when a subpoena is agectually producedt has a way of making a legal team think differently about their choices. at that point there is a real scenario where they would come up with some terms, some interview terms. other presidents have been interviewed for a set period of time that they agree with under taped, not taped, under oath, not under oath. there's many more iterations of this that you could see take place before this ends up into this automatic supreme court case. >> i think this is step one. and ultimately what rudy giuliani is trying to do is just discredit -- first of all, he's trying to control the questioning, right? he's trying to make the list narrow. this is what he's been doing from day one since he came on board. >> right. >> with what we think, even leaking the questions in the first place, that mueller had sent to the president. so, trying to control the
questioning and then secondly, trying to just discredit the investigation. >> it's trumpian play book. he does his boss like the president. here it is rudy giuliani this weekend, reemerging on the television shows. take a listen. >> george, he wants to testify. he believes like -- >> it's hard to believe that any more, mr. mayor. >> it is hard to believe given all the things that have been shown about how tainted this investigation is. this is the most corrupt investigation i have ever seen, that the justice department is allowing to go forward. he's got all hillary -- 13 angry democrats working for him. what the heck do you think they're working for him? maxine waters, i'd have to be an idiot to hear what they're saying. she has basically written off the constitution, high crimes and misdemeanors -- >> do you think robert mueller is a biased man? >> no, but i think he's surrounded by biased people almost exclusively. >> what's rudy giuliani doing, chuck? >> he's playing a political game. this is not a legal strategy. >> this is p.r., this is not
legal. >> this is p.r., first, second and last. this is p.r. first of all, mueller doesn't care what rudy has to say and isn't listening. >> rudy casts it like he's the megaphone for robert mueller, he's sharing his information. everything he said something it's proven not to be true. they'd be done by this date, here we are. >> many things but not the megaphone for robert mueller. robert mueller is not channeling the investigation through rudy giuliani. the forum, if it comes to pass, will be a court of law, not a television show, not a press conference, not a press release, not rudy giuliani. >> we have some more rudy giuliani coming up. chuck, thanks for that. you guys stay with us, if you will. when we come back, is the president's former fixer ready to cooperate with prosecutors? michael cohen's new attorney now weighing in, taking aim today at donald trump and rudy giuliani. also ahead, from handshakes to gangster talk, is it time to start worrying again about north korea?
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in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. i don't know what he has to flip over. what i do know is there's no evidence of wrongdoing with president trump. so we're very comfortable. if he believes it is in his best interest to cooperate, god bless him, he should cooperate. i think the man has been horribly treated by the people he's going to cooperate with, but that, you know, sometimes you have no other choice. i do not expect that michael cohen is going to lie. i think he's going to tell the truth as best he can given his recollection. >> and you are confident that
that truth involves nothing that is negative or even worse for president trump? >> i'm very confident of that. we all should be because mueller would not have given it away if it had any hope of producing evidence against the president. >> that was donald trump's personal attorney rudy giuliani resurfacing this weekend after weeks of silence. he appears to be baiting the president's former fixer michael cohen to go ahead, cooperate with investigators amid signals from cohen that he may be willing to flip on trump. cohen's new lawyer lanny davis firing back with a direct challenge to the president and his attorney. listen to this. he writes, did rudy giuliani really say on sunday shows that michael cohen should cooperate with prosecutors and tell the truth? seriously? is that trump and giuliani's definition of truth? trump/giuliani next to the word truth equals oxymoron. joining us now is barbara mcquade, former u.s. attorney now an msnbc contributor.
our panel still with us here. barbara, let me start with you if i can very quickly. this certainly looks like a direct challenge to the president from michael cohen and his team. we read their language, but what should we read into this? what is the message they're trying to deliver to the white house and to rudy giuliani right now? >> really aggressive tactic by lanny davis, i think, to go after the president like that and rudy giuliani. but i think as chuck said earlier, what rudy giuliani is doing is pure theater. it's pure public relations. he says things like there is no evidence of any criminal activity between michael cohen and president trump. that's because the attorney/client privilege review is still going on. the southern district of new york does not yet have its arms around all the evidence so they can assess it and decide whether there should be any charges filed. that's not public information. he makes assertions about things that can't be proven untrue because they're not yet known to the public. so, i think that the time will come when the southern district of new york has its arms around
all of that information and is in a position to assess whether michael cohen should be charged with a crime, if so, what crime he should be charged with, and to negotiate whether he wants to cooperate under those circumstances. so i think, i'm sure they're working with urgency. >> do you read lanny davis's language we have plenty on the president, is that what he's saying? >> he does seem to be challenging the assertion that there is nothing there. i don't know why he would do that in a public forum, but that does seem to be the tone of what he is saying, and then certainly undermines the credibility of both giuliani and trump with that statement about truth. >> all this stuff has been done in a public forum in ways we've never seen before, chuck. that's what's made this whole process so unique right now. michael cohen, this is a guy initially who said he would have taken a bullet for the president. now he appears to be sending a warning shot in the opposite direction as we look at this right now. talk about this framing between these two, the showdown we're witnessing.
>> first of all, peter, easy to say i'll take a bullet until a loaded gun is pointed right at your chest. it doesn't seem like such a good idea. people don't take bullets for other people. that happens in the movies, not in real life. barb knows this as a federal prosecutor. he has to look out for himself. he's said as much. right now it's his family and himself -- >> why is he being public? >> why is he being public? >> yeah. >> i'm not sure he should be. i agree with barb. it seems a little strange that lanny davis would also wade into a public debate. it's in michael cohen's best interest to keep quiet and tell the truth, period the end. >> this is rudy giuliani. a little bit of what he said on the stormy daniels case as it relates. we sort of fact check the president's lawyer. take a listen. >> but to be clear, the president did not direct michael cohen in advance to make those payments? >> as far as i know, that is right. and second, even if he had, that would not necessarily be
anything. the president directed him to settle the case, he would have done that a year before, year after. didn't matter that he was running for office. that's something you settle because you don't want your family to be embarrassed. >> donna, is the stormy daniels case that type of information that they're concerned michael cohen knows the details about? >> it may be that and more. we don't know. and i think that it is true that we're not going to know that until mueller really presents his case and presents the evidence. there is a report that comes out and i think many of us are waiting for that. i think the president and giuliani, frankly, are presuming that there is going to be something. to me that's what they're signalling. >> but for all the commentary about rudy and being in the press and some of that is quite fair, you know, he's right in many respects, which is, you know, this is an investigation about russian interference and whether somebody in the trump organization knowingly colluded with russia. we're talking about stormy daniels. and while we could debate the morality of that and whether you
want your president engaged in that behavior -- >> stormy daniels is from the southern district of new york. these are two separate investigations we're talking about here. >> right. yes, but they're under the same umbrella. they're under a federal prosecutor who was brought in to do one thing and now is investigating the president's liaison, potential liaison with a porn star and his payment to her to keep quiet. rudy is right. that might not be illegal. it would be illegal if it was campaign finance violation, but we don't know it was. this is where the public, i think, looks at this and throws their hands in the air and says these folks are all crooked, they're all fighting. >> what chuck knows and what every lawyer knows is that, you know, when you're investigating and you come across what might be evidence of a crime, that you're obligated to pursue that. that's what -- that is what mueller has done and mueller appropriately passed that off to the southern district and is continuing with the mueller probe. >> but we're having a discussion about the politics and the public nature of these debates
that are going on, and this is where rudy giuliani wins in the court of public opinion in my view, which is to say, look at this, we're talking about russia now we're talking about stormy daniels. the public doesn't get all the chess parts about the southern district versus the prosecutors in d.c. appointed by the justice department. they don't pay attention to that. they know that there was this thing on russia and now we're talking about stormy daniels. >> we'll wait and see exactly what the public thinks as we find out what robert mueller knows here. we know rudy giuliani, if we can, barbara, has under cut the president on a variety of topics, sort of lending real questions to the president's story including when it came to the national security advisor michael flynn. take a listen to this. >> what he said to him was, can you -- >> comey says he took it as direction. >> that's okay, taken it that way. by that time he had been fired. the reality is as a prosecutor, i was told that many times, can you give the man a break? either by his lawyers, by his
relatives, by friends. you take that into consideration. but that doesn't determine not going forward with it. >> this is what aaron blake from the washington post writes. we'll put it up on your screen. perhaps giuliani knows all this stuff is going to come out eventually. maybe he knows trump's knowledge of the daniels payment will become clear in a few months when the mueller report comes out. maybe he knows comey's account of flynn's coffer salgs will nv verified. even if these things actually happened, they were not illegal, but it wasn't illegal, but it wasn't illegal is far different argument than it didn't happen. at the least, the trump team's denials have been steadily revealed to suggest a cover up. barbara, what do you make that of, this idea that the sort of strategy has shifted by rudy giuliani here, initially they said there was nothing to this, now they're saying, well, that wasn't illegal? >> yeah, it's very interesting because president trump denied that those statements had been made in the past and now giuliani is saying something different. even if he did, no big deal, it's not illegal.
one wonders is this just rudy giuliani not getting his facts straight, early on in the representation when he contradicted president trump about the stormy daniels payment and he said something like, rudy needs to learn his facts, otherwise he's doing a great job. or this is a deliberate effort to sensitize the public, that this is no big deal. this is not a crime. this happens all the time. and so one wonders which of those strategies is going on and which of those scenarios is going on. i think rudy giuliani is fairly savvy and i think he's trying to sensitize the public so that if and when this comes out, he can say it happened but it wasn't a big deal. it was like in a rape case, there was inter course but it was consensual. it seems to be the argument rudy giuliani is making. >> barbara mcquade, we appreciate your guidance through this process. chuck rosenberg, nice to see you in person. when we come back from honorable to gangster. weeks after the historic handshake and praise, it appears an agreement with north korea may be on thin ice.
we're back. president trump today optimistic about his agreement with north korea, tweeting, i have confidence that kim jong-un will honor the contract we signed and even more importantly our handshake. we agreed to the denuclearization of north korea. this comes after north korean officials criticize the white house hours after a meeting they had with secretary of state mike pompeo this weekend. "the new york times" writing, north korea accused the trump administration on saturday of pushing a unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization and called it deeply regrettable hours after secretary pompeo said his two days of talks in the north korean capital were, quote, productive. to which pompeo, who did not meet with kim jong-un during the trip, pushed back on north korea's read-out of the meeting. >> i am counting on chairman kim to be determined to follow through on the commitment that he made. and so if those requests were
gangster-like, the world is a gangster because there was a unanimous decision at the u.n. security council about what needs to be achieved. >> joining us now from "the new york times," chief white house correspondent peter baker and from politico, senior foreign affairs correspondent michael crowley. michael, i want to start with you quickly. i was there in singapore. it was obvious for this president who likes to put on a show that he viewed this as sort of like a show with a worldwide audience, right? trying to create the appearance of progress, where it appeared most language for that paperwork they signed, that agreement they signed, had been predetermined, it could happen so quickly here. so, where are we right now and has the u.s., in effect, given up some of its leverage? >> i think that's a fair assessment. we are kind of in the reality check phase here. the president did this sort of glamorous handshake deal. he captivated the world, had all the cameras on him. and for a moment it looked like
maybe he was able to sort of defy the laws of gravity and get the north koreans to come around, that they were really prepared to make concessions of a sort they had never made before. it seemed like that, at least, was a possibility. and now what we're seeing in the follow-up is the reality check. that, in fact, this is the same old north korea that we have known for decades, that they play games, that they make promises and they retreat. it's a cat and mouse game, and that this, as we always knew it would be, is going to be a long, grueling and difficult process. now, it is possible that the president, by going to see kim and get thing dialogue going, has started a process that could lead to a positive conclusion. i think it's too early to say. the whole thing is doomed to fail. what is clear, the hype around singapore was mostly that. and the hard work really remains to be done and there are still big questions as to whether
there really is going to be progress here. >> peter, that's what was sort of striking in the president's tweet this morning, right? this is a guy most of his deelds had to do with real estate, not with nuclear weapons. saying, i have confidence, kim jong-un, my partner in this deal, will abide by our handshake. >> yeah, exactly. i was struck also by the word contract he used. contract as if there was actually some sort of -- let's face it. this wasn't an agreement. this was a 391-word statement of intent, a statement that we would like to get to a certain place where we could denuclearize the north korean state. that was not a contract. there was no specifics in there. a contract in the same sense donald trump said i'm going to sell you some floors on trump tower, but we're not going to tell you what the price s we're not going to tell you what the date of close is, how many floors we're going to sell, you know, where the financing would come. none of those details had been worked out. so, as michael says, there's no surprise here. this is the way the north koreans operate. if anybody is surprised, they
shouldn't be. it doesn't mean this isn't going to go anywhere. the saying i largely solved this problem was optimism over experience. >> the president framed this fire and fury, then he talked about maximum pressure. here's how the language changed. this is what the president said a month ago. take a listen. >> you'll know how well we do with the negotiation. if you hear me say we're going to use maximum pressure, you'll know the negotiation did not do well frankly. there's no reason to say it. we in the meantime haven't removed any sanctions. we have a list of over 300 massive in some cases sanctions to put on north korea and i've decided to hold that until we can make a deal. >> so, that comment made this tweet from mike pompeo within this last weekend much more interesting. he writes, constructive meeting with japan's foreign minister today to discuss the u.s./japan
alliance, the cornerstone of regional stability and maintaining maximum pressure on the dprk. so, does that mean that the negotiation did not go well, michael? the president said we wouldn't use that language unless it was failing. >> look, let's hold the president to his word. let's hold him by his own standard. it does suggest it didn't go well. mike pompeo as north korea inter locutor, the north korean negotiators said something like, you know, he worried pompeo hadn't slept well the night before because they had hard conversations. pompeo quickly got his press back against that. it does not look like it's going well. it's this awkward dynamic. pompeo is a fascinating character here because he sort of caught between the president who really wants to create the appearance of diplomacy and success, the idea that he's a successful diplomat and states man, and i think his own skiptism about what's possible. plus the counter veiling
pressure from national security advisor john bolton who seems to think this whole thing is a trap and keeps using language that suggests bolton is trying to find a way out of it. >> so, sarah, the president just a month ago said there is no longer a nuclear threat when he came back. he said, sleep well tonight. does this hang on the president? does he try to hang it on mike pompeo? where are we right now? >> well, it's interesting, you know. if we have many more episodes like the one this weekend, it will be interesting to see who he hangs it on. it is going to hang on him. he did come back, he said america can sleep well tonight. and the reality is at this point, north korea hasn't made any steps to denuclearize. we hope that happens. it's possible it will happen. the world is working on that, not just united states, but you know, we're not farther along today than we were a month ago. >> the question being asked now, we talked about trump the showman in the last segment. whether that thirst for stage craft undercut his negotiators.
sleep well tonight. we gave kim jong-un something that no president, republican or democrat, has ever given a north korean dictator in the form of face-to-face meeting. we announced we were calling off the drills. kim felt very fat and happy with these concessions and may have felt no real pressure to reciprocate. >> heidi, this intersects with the president's foreign policy elsewhere. this is what victor cha, an expert in the region, this is how he described it on morning joe based on the president's policies elsewhere. take a listen. >> this is where we see the collateral damage of trump's foreign policy because the natural thing to do now would be to go to china and say to the chinese, look, we tried diplomacy. we need you to put more economic pressure on the regime to get them to be more compliant in the negotiations. of course, we can't do that or that's going to be difficult because we're in a trade war with china. the other thing you do is you go to nato and you bring nato allies together and you say, all of you must keep the sanctions on north korea and we must come
with a very strong united statement that north korea needs to denuclearize, provide a declaration, inventory all their weapons and allow verification. but of course he's going to go to nato and he's going to pick on nato allies and say you're not paying enough, you're not paying enough. >> notably he leaves for nato tomorrow, so this is timely and the president needs them at a time like this. >> well, it does. he's really strained to be conservative, those relationships. what i worry about is what's coming up with vladimir putin and what that -- what the north korean debacle symbolize for there. and with respect to north korea, there was no contract because there was no consideration. north koreans didn't give up anything. there was no -- countries do treaties, they don't do contracts. in business you do contracts. and so there's a lot to be left hanging here with north korea. i think at some point or other, the president is going to have to accept his blame for that. >> so, everybody is sticking around if you can. up next, president trump is
facing what "the new york times" calls a moment of truth heading to that meeting with nato allies, followed by as we just noted, a summit with vladimir putin, all alone. that's how he wants it, nobody but translators in the room. burning, of diabetic nerve pain these feet... ... made waves in high school... ...and built a career in construction. but i couldn't bear my diabetic nerve pain any longer. so i talked to my doctor and he prescribed lyrica. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions
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cohigher!ad! higher! parents aren't perfect, but then they make us kraft mac & cheese and everything's good again. it's a busy trip ahead for the president with two upcoming summits. one with nato, the other with russian president vladimir putin. that's one week from today. it will be a moment of truth for american leadership. axios reporting senior european officials are worried trump will spend the entire summit beating up on america's allies especially germany not spending enough on their defense. they're worried he'll make these deficiencies the focus of the summit in face of the solidarity of the russian threat. they'll have a friendlier day
with putin days after. the worry is justified. the president thinks he can be friends with putin. former national security advisor hr ma h.r. mcmaster complained during his time in the white house according to u.s. officials. i don't know why he would want to be. the post continues, adding, putin complains to trump during their phone call about fake news and how in putin's words, the quote, deep state is conspiring against them with putin tell trump it's not us, it's the subordinates fighting against our friendship. joining me now, peter baker again, michael crowley and our team back here. peter, let me ask you about this because this comes bear a a month after a similar circumstances. the president feuding with his allies at the g-7, including our friends from canada before he went to see kim jong-un. now he's on his way to nato. there will be some hot conversation to take place there before he warms up to vladimir putin. talk about the risks at stake in the next week.
>> well, it's a stunning set of messages if that's the way it ends up playing out. i can't think of a parallel to it. obviously president trump is not the first american president to try to find a constructive relationship with russia. obviously president bush tried that. president obama tried that. president clinton tried that. the difference is those presidents didn't throw nato under the bus in the days right before such a meeting. if he really does go to brussels and really does blow up that summit over these complaints that he has with nato, that would be an extraordinary thing and leaves him, you know, in a position without allies at his back and leaves putin in a bold position. president putin, i spent four years in russia. he spent his entire time in office trying to drive a wedge between america and its european allies and here we are. >> well, you make a good point. rick sting l, formerly the state department in the obama administration, he tweeted it's all going according to vla's
plan. check. have lackey american president go to u.k. and criticize nato as it collapses. everyone is so worried i'm going to giveaway the store to vladimir putin. heeds fine. it's all fine. is it fine as it comes to vladimir putin? >> it's not and that was such a strangely glib thing to say. i mean, everything trump says about putin is just a little weird, like he's not -- he frequently doesn't even really make an effort. you could present an argument as some people in washington do, serious foreign policy thinkers, we need to have a much better relationship with russia, that russia can be our partner in a place like syria. a lot of people disagree, but there are intelligent people who make this case. russia can help us fight terrorism. trump doesn't even really make that argument. he just waves his hand and says putin will be fine. no wonder people are suspicious.
it's incredibly peculiar. i want to point out something else for people to keep an eye on. trump is also going to the united kingdom at the end of this week before he goes to moscow. >> right. >> where you have just seen this totally innocent couple of civilians get poisoned by the nerve agent that was used against the former russian spy a few months ago. it looks like it was some residue maybe from the delivery mechanism, now this woman has just died. what an incredibly awkward reminder. so trump is going to show up in london just as the u.k. is freaking out over the fact that there is this nerve agent somewhere in a quiet residential community where people are randomly dying and he's going off to get friendlier with vladimir putin. it just -- and never mind the nato summit where i do think we can expect it to look like a replay of the g-7. people will be pleasantly surprise ed if it doesn't. >> right. >> you can't blame people for being freaked out by this and not really understanding what is in trump's head.
he's fine is not good enough. he owes people more than that. >> the white house's response to that poison, they just sent me their response within the last hour which we'll share with you after this break. let me invite you guys in quickly and read something from the washington post i think is interesting as it relates to the risks associated with what the president wants to be a one on one meeting, again, just him and vladimir putin and a couple interpreters in the room. "wall street journal" writes, based on meetings he and other senators held with russian leaders in moscow senator jerry more an has a few words of caution for president donald trump as he repairs to meet russian president putin. if it is any indication the president will find it will be denial, hostility and long and tedious responses, the kansas republican said, i understand why the president feels the need to meet one on one, but based on my experience, more americans in the room would be better for the president's protection. sarah, you know the way this stuff works. this is very unusual for a president to say, hey, let's just have the two of us talk, nobody else needs to hear what we say. >> it's highly unusual.
it's arguably really misguided from the -- >> is it dangerous? >> dangerous -- i use the word misguided. i don't know if it's dangerous or not. depends what comes out of it. >> who knows what promises? >> it's certainly misguided. but if he promises, who knows, there won't be anyone to follow through because they won't know what the united states has promised necessarily. >> you guys stick with us. when we come back we want to get to what we were talking about, what the white house is saying about that deadly nerve agent poisoning in the uk. it's right after this on "deadline white house." oh, look... another anti-wrinkle cream in no hurry to make anything happen.
we were just talking about that death of a british woman, a result of poisoning believed to be the responsibility of the russians. in a statement to nbc news an nsc national security council spokeswoman says the u.s. continues to concur with the united kingdom's assessment that russia is responsible for the march chemical attack in salisbury. while the current incident remains under investigation, we stand with our allies in condemning the use of chemical weapons. peter baker from "the new york times" is here again. peter, i want your reaction to that. the white house sent this to me within the last hour that there is no condemnation of russia, no mention of vladimir putin. for a president who's been criticized from the very start not being critical enough of putin, this seems like a pretty mild response, once again. >> and remember, he expelled russian diplomats a couple of months ago in collaboration with
britain and europe but did so quite reluctantly. made clear to his aides that he was unhappy he was being forced into doing it. he did not make a very strong public statement himself about this episode involving sergei skripal, the former russian spy, who was originally poisoned as part of this now seemingly continuing episode. and it does raise the questions that michael was talking about, why not. why would this be something that wouldn't deserve a more fulsome response by the united states. it hards to imagine a foreign power being accused of what amounts to an act of war on an ally's soil. >> here's a good way to think of it. this is from bill kristol. he said if someone in the uk had died in a terrorist attack, even at the hand of another british citizen, donald trump would have belligerently weighed in by now. but when someone in the uk dies as a result of an attack on british soil by putin's
government, crickets. again, a week before he sits down with vladimir putin. >> it all helps puff up the cloud of suspicion. you have the response on the nerve agent. by the way, this isn't the first one, it's the second one. you have the need that no other foreign leader in the world has to meet alone with president trump. and you can see why our nato allies are concerned. you can see why there are now reports about how quickly that alliance can disintegrate when they feel we may not have their backs and are talking about creating a separate security alliance. the baltic states are very concerned in particular right now that border russia. >> there are so many troops close to that border. as a republican, i have been pleasantly surprised by a lot of donald trump's domestic policy, taxes, supreme court. this is very troubling. >> this is troubling to a lot of people. peter baker and michael crowley, we thank you. we'll be right back after the break. across web and tablet?
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my thanks to donna edwards, sara fagan and heidi przybyla. that will do it for this hour. i'm peter alexander in today for nicolle wallace who will be back in the chair next week. "mtp daily" starts right now with katy tur in for chuck. katy, what the president does could stick. >> it will stick. this will change the court for at least a generation. peter alexander, good to see you, thanks so much. >> nice to see you. >> and if it's monday, supreme suspense. the president has made his pick. tonight, judgment day. president trump gets ready to reveal his supreme court pick as democrats try to gear up for a fight. >> enormously important issues hang in the balance. plus, how the trump/putin meeting is casting a shadow over this week's nato summit. and will the president's legal limbo pay off in the m