tv Morning Joe MSNBC July 23, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT
that does it for us this morning. "morning joe," everyone, starts right now. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it is monday, july 23rd. we've got three big stories this morning, each with a direct line to the next. first, president trump screaming over twitter last night. he's been screaming all weekend, but last night he was screaming instead of screaming about republican judges, he was screaming about the republican guard and his threat to wipe out iran. as we've seen in the past, he always dials up his rhetoric on foreign policy when things start falling apart here at home. in this case, it is, of course, the news that his long-time lawyer, michael cohen, recorded a conversation where he and donald trump were scheming and discussing payments involving a former playboy model. and that is all playing out in
public. also out in the open, the justice department's fisa warrant for the former trump adviser carter page has been redacted, but this line was clear as day, quote, the fbi believes that page has been collaborating and conspireing with the russian government. also four republican judges obviously thought there was something there. with us we have mike barnacle, john heilemann, knnick confesso, carol lee, benjamin wittis and michael schmidt. so, john heilemann, i don't know if trump supporters digest twitter the way i digest
twitter, but if they do, these days especially on summer weekends, they're probably getting one line into his rantings and it's like scrolling on. been there, done that. but the amount of vitriol, the amount of just craziness, the level of unmored behavior by the president this weekend was over the top. it's always over the top, but the intensity is picking up and of course it ended with him talking about fire and fury coming to iran. >> right. >> is this a president feeling more cornered than usual because of the michael cohen tapes? >> well, it's hard to judge exactly how cornered he feels relative to other times he's felt cornered. my thought when the story broke there's going to be a lot of all
caps this weekend. >> there were. >> on a variety of topics. and as you pointed out, joe, he often foreign policy has become a place that is refuge for him. and it's a little strange. there was a period, a moment, a brief moment, after the summit in singapore where with kim jong-un where, the notion that he had engaged in this incredibly heated bellicose rhetoric with respect to north korea had somehow paid dividends and driven north korea to the table that he could make the argument that that kind of brinksmanship paid off. given how things are going in north korea, it's not so clear there's anything you can point to even in donald trump's tenuous logic, this firing up the rhetoric, this kind of exclamatory behavior is going to pay off on the foreign policy stage. but i think at heart, you're right. that this is, again, one of the
many diversions he tried to throw up over the weekend where anything that's not discussion of russia and anything that's not a discussion of his sex life is in his view good for business. >> yeah. microsoft barnacle, speaking of russia, the lies just continued. again, i'm talking about -- i know everybody goes, oh, we have to understand the trump voter. who is the trump voter. we can't be disrespectful of the trump voter. i know a lot of people who were trump voters got a lot of friends who are trump voters. got family members who are trump voters. but even they cannot believe the bald-faced lies, the obvious lies, the third grade level lies, the stupidity that come through in these tweets where the president has gone back this weekend and now said that putin didn't try to interfere in the
2016 election. why didn't obama tell our campaign? because it's all a big hoax, that's why. and he thought crooked hillary was going to win. so donald trump, again, talking about how what our four intel agencies have all told him, all of his appointees have told him that russia did try to interfere in the election. but once again he is playing stooge, playing dupe for vladimir putin and the former soviet spy. >> he had a tough week, a week of apologies, not apologies, but coming back with other explanations. carter page, a very unstable person involved, the fbi involved, the misleading tweet about what the fbi was doing, the double negatives, all of that capped off last night by what you just mentioned initially, joe, at the top of the show, 11:30 p.m. last night,
all caps, you know, you better watch out, iran, or something will happen to you that's never happened before in the history of the world, whatever he said. unfortunately i think it kind of works for him with his constituents. it's a great deflection, but i think it works out there. >> i don't know, but mike, you can only hand the rose to the wrong woman so many times in bachelor -- >> marcus proved that to be untrue, joe. >> while you're lying to the other one, after a while people -- abc can't do that at the end of the season again. donald trump does view this as a reality show, but i'm telling you, it's my job to read his stupid tweets, even when they're lies. and i've gotten to the point, why bother, i'll just read what the news says about the stupid tweets because i'm not going to
waste my time. that's not out of anger. that's just out of -- i've seen it a thousands times before. i'm just saying if i'm feeling that way, even trump supporters have got to start feeling that way. yeah, he's going to lie. he's going to go in all caps. it's all nonsense. he is just speaking to himself. >> but you have to define what you just said. what does after a while mean? i mean, we're 18, 19 months into his presidency and we continue to read these tweets on tv, giving them enormous exposure, enormous air time. how long is after a while? i don't know. >> you know, it may be, nick confessorry, after the democrats win big in the fall. i don't know. the republicans -- more republicans support donald trump now than they ever have, which means that more 71% to 80% of republicans said they liked the side of donald trump cozying up
to a kgb spy and appearing to be his dupe. 71 to 80% of republicans say they liked donald trump basically doing the bidding of putin, undermining u.s. foreign policy for the past 50 years and picking up what was soviet policy for 50 years. who knows. maybe that's the republican party or maybe it's just blind brand loyalty. either way, i don't think that drives people to the polls in november. >> well, joe, i'm not sure. i think that what's happened here is that political triablbam in the united states has overwhelmed the national interest separate from a political interest or a party's interest. it has taken over everything. just one fact check, by the way, so president trump actually was warned as soon as he became the nominee, he was warned about potential russian efforts to penetrate his campaign. >> right. >> he appears to have ignored
those warnings and of course this morning with the tweets on iran, it's the promo for season 9 of the bachelor at the very end of season 8, he's kind of getting his timing wrong. i think, yeah, it's a classic effort to distract everybody. on the other hand, if you're iran, you're probably feeling pretty good right now because the last time he threatened fire and fur troy a country, the final step was a really nice sitdown in which the other country got the better of the deal. >> if you're iran and you're looking at these tweets, everybody is high-fiving. back the brinks truck up to the white house because he does this fist before he gives away the bank which is exactly what he did to north korea. they won't even meet with our secretary of state. they go out and start picking potatoes with potato farmers instead of meeting with pompeo
when he goes over there because trump gave them everything they wanted in the first meeting. now, let's turn to the fisa warrants and carter page. for the first time in the history of the 40-year-old secret court that was established by the foreign intelligence surveillance act, documents that supported a warrant were released this weekend. a freedom of information act lawsuit disclosed the october, 2016, application to wiretap carter page. a trump campaign foreign policy adviser. along with several renewal applications after donald trump declassified their existence earlier this year. among his 400 pages, many of which are redacted, the application states, quote, the fbi believes page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the russian government. and identifies page as a former foreign policy adviser to a candidate for president. it says, quote, the fbi believes
the russian government's efforts are being coordinated with page and perhaps other individuals associated with that campaign. and the fbi believes that page has been collaborating and conspireing with the russian government. page called the claims ridiculous and so misleading. the application used the steele dossier's that he spoke with russian officials lifting sanctions. though the unredacted portion shows it used other materials as well. the application and its renewal show that all of the judges who signed off on the wiretapping were appointed by, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, angry republican presidents. part of donald trump's 13 angry people in the investigation you can -- 4 of those 13 you can
actually put down as 4 republican judges. there's so much to go to here, ben wittis, first of all, as a public service announcement to 87 million people watching and listening on armed forces radio across the world, i'm making that up, tell us just how dramatic a change from precedent it was to have the fisa made public and the grave risks that go along with that and then we'll ask you more about the carter page application. >> yeah, so. i think the answer to the question, how unusual is it is that it's completely unprecedented. 20 plus years ago when i was a very young reporter for a legal newspaper, i did what i think is the first sort of major story about the foreign intelligence surveillance court in the mid 1990s.
at the time, the justice department made a decision to cooperate with the story, as did the court, by the way. and they all talked on the record and we had a lot of conversations about fisa. the one thing i asked for that they said no way, no how you're never going to get was the word processing template for a fisa application, that is not only were they not willing to give like a used application with everything redacted, they weren't even willing to let me see the mockup that they write off of that shows the structure of it, which is if you take all the material out, essentially what this is, in addition, this has the name of a target in it, which -- and it has a lot of the material that they used to support the application. so it's completely unprecedented. it's a huge change. and it reflects the degree to
which the president has by talking about this process in a false fashion forced the release of information. and the way devin nunes has by talking about this information falsely forced the department to contemplate the release of truthful information that can itself be very damaging. >> and carol lee, what did we find out from the documents that were released from the justice department? >> well, a number of things, including some of which you read, which is that there was a very clear directive -- there was a very clear belief that carter page was conspireing with russia to in ways that were nefarious and also that the renewals of this fisa warrant suggest that part is redacted and we don't know exactly what was learned, that led to those
renewals of the fisa warrant, they show the number of pages that the application was grew each time, so there was information that clearly they had learned in surveilling him that led to renewals. so i think the main question coming out of when you look at what was released is what was that? and maybe we'll learn that in coming months and maybe we won't, but there was very clearly, you know, it kind of debunks what the president had said that, you know, the republican memo that was released that had exonerated him or show that there was something that this was not done in a proper way, it certainly is another instance where that is debunked and shows there was a real cause for this. >> benjamin wittes, obviously the president's tweet this weekend claiming that the documents exonerated him were
ridiculous, not fact based to say the least. talk about what your main take away was from the fisa documents released this weekend. >> well, i guess my main take away is that this is pretty much what i always imagined a fisa application would look like, which is to say packed with information. you know, it is not in support of a criminal conviction, right? the fact that some of the information people malater raise questions about, they're only trying to establish probable cause for purposes of a warrant, surveillance warrant, not prove the guy guilty of a crime to lock him up, but it's packed with information. some of which we can see, some of which is redacted. some of which involves highly sensitive intelligence sources. some of which is so sensitive it's blacked out. and i think the most important
point is that there were multiple renewals. each renewal grows in the package grows. implying they're getting new information along the way. at no point does either the justice department hierarchy or the court say, hey, wait a minute, this material isn't good enough to support the surveillance that you're requesting. so i think it's -- it really does give the lie to both the president and the house republicans claims that there was something fe fair mouse or inappropriate here. >> yeah. john heilemann, i wanted to follow up with you about the lies from devin nunes, paul ryan, the house republicans. >> yes, please. >> i remember when i first ran in 1994, not only myself but probably every other republican across america was still
attacking the democratic party because of their attacks on the intel community throughout the 1960s and 1970s. the church commission. you go down the line, we said the democrats were insufficiently loyal to the intel communities and damaged their ability to go out across the world and do the important work they needed to do to protect americans. well, i just i cannot believe that what the republicans are doing now, what paul ryan has allowed to happen, what devin nunes acting as a useful idiot for the russian government, at the very least, what they did this last week trying to defend the indefensible with donald trump actually adopting soviet foreign policy that attempts to break up nato instead of 50, 60 years of u.s. policy, i can't believe that doesn't stick to republicans not only in the
midterms but for the next 30 years. >> i think maybe the next 30 years is more important thing than the midterms. i don't know how it will play out in the midterms. i want to pick up on that because what ben wittes said a second ago. look, we know the president is a liar, he lies pathologically on a daily basis and maybe this thing i'm about to say is also not news, but nothing, nothing that has happened over the course of the last 18 months is more vividly demonstrated the extent to which the house republicans on that intel committee and particularly devin nunes are engaged in nothing other than a transparent effort to lie, prevaricate, throw up fog, throw up smoke in order to try to protect this president rather than doing their job. this is an extraordinary thing seeing all this documentation, but it really just makes clear again if it wasn't clear enough already, the extent to which devin nunes, the chairman of that committee, a committee in the past has done great,
important, bipartisan work has become completely corrupted by whatever. you can spend all day speculated about what that corruption, the source of that corruption is, but this shows the extent to which this guy, who said he hadn't read the documents he admitted at the time and yet was willing to cast aspersions on the intel committee and stand up and say carter page, i'm sure he's fine and it's all about the steele dossier. all obliterated by the documents. michael schmidt, how is it that -- really one of the things that most baffles me is how at this point 18 months in, given paul ryan supporting them, how is it that that committee is even a functional thing anymore or is it now just something that has no relevance whatsoever except in the political realm and has nothing do with the oversight of the intelligence committee or anything that touches the intelligence
community? >> well, it really isn't. and they don't work together on anything. they spend a lot of their time cable television attacking each other. it's pretty much just a political thing. it's where the political fight about the trump russia story goes on on a daily basis. i can't see any of that changes under the current circumstances. there had been some expectation after the election that there would be this bipartisan effort to get to the bottom of what happened. we see more of that on the senate side where the senate intelligence committee is doing an investigation far less noise, far less fighting, some more hearings, a little more transparency, a little more idea that they are working together at the same time, they have not completed their investigation. mueller's investigation goes on. we do not have a 9/11-style commission that would produce some sort of large report for the public on this. so, it allows different notions,
conspiracy theories, false narratives to continue especially out of that committee. >> yeah, mike barnacle, it seems to me picking up on what john heilemann just said and michael schmidt that where we are headed, if you are reading the tea leaves and believe that the democrats are going to take over the house of representatives, i think most people would suggest that they would, even historically if you look at the numbers of seats that a sitting president loses, democrats are going to most likely take over the house and because of the map, republicans probably will hold on to the senate, could hold on to the senate. what we're probably going to see next year, if the odds play out the way most people suspect they are, is you're going to see a bipartisan, bicameral investigation into russia led by richard burr, republican from
north carolina on the senate side and democrat to be named later, possibly adam schiff, but a democrat to be named later from the house of representatives on the house side. and so, you have one republican who has been a straight shooter all along. a democrat from the house and you spend the next year getting to the bottom of this in good faith figuring what happened, when it happened, what did the president know and when did he know it. >> yeah, joe. that's going to be a priority. everything we have spoken about here in the first 20 minutes is of critical, national importance. there's no doubt about it, iran tweet, carter page, the fisa warrants. but right up there, right up there is the corruption of the process that has taken place in the house of representatives over the past 18 months with paul ryan, the speaker of the house, republican speaker of the
house, allowing and in some cases encouraging devin nunes to carry on a concerted and consistent effort to obstruct justice using a house committee. >> and ben wittes, we have to go to break, but it's more than just obstructing justice for donald trump. what devin nunes has done with the help of paul ryan through this fisa process has undermined our intelligence community, undermined intelligence gathering, and revealed not only to russians but to members of al qaeda, to members of iran's revolutionary guard, to members of isis a part of our intel process that we've hidden for 40 years. >> yeah. he's done a lot of things here. he has really shown that the
united states' intelligence community cannot protect sources from congress and that congress will out them and force the intelligence community to out them. he has also really taken a sledge hammer to the intelligence oversight system, which was built in the wake of watergate in order to prevent the intelligence community from running amok and abusing people's civil liberties. if you don't have a functioning congressional intelligence oversight system, then what actually prevents the intelligence community from behaving badly? so it's really an attack not just on the effectiveness of the intelligence community, but also on the ability to monitor the intelligence community which is, of course, precisely what he purports to be doing. >> devin nunes and his close
friend paul ryan did this all in defense of the indefensible. i hope that works well for them moving forward. that's not really a story you want to tell your grandchildren. still ahead on "morning joe," it's not just the actual content of that michael cohen tape you heard about that's troubling to the president, it's also the possibility that cohen could be close to flipping on the president. we're going to get the latest reporting from michael schmidt straight ahead. and how the president's week of walkbacks left the white house reeling. they're always reeling. they just went into overdrive this weekend. we'll be talking to a reporter about that piece. "the washington post's" phil rucker. plus, it's good to have allies, especially if you're threatening war against iran. but exactly how would nato feel about that after getting the trump treatment in brussels? we'll be talking to retired
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whoa! with us now, we have former nato supreme allied commander, now chief international security and diplomacy analyst for nbc news and msnbc, retired four star navy admiral james stavridis, great to have you with us this weekend. ra hanny made a statement and the president came back, he went full trump, you should never go full trump but he went full trump promising fire and fury against iran. all caps, full trump, never go full trump. >> yep. >> i'm wondering what our allies, again, i hate to keep repeating the question, but things do keep getting worse. he insulted our nato allies. now he's suggesting war with
iran. six months after he suggested war with north korea, before giving north korea the summit that they had wanted for 40 years. what do you make of the president's latest threats of war? >> well, to put it in the movie conte context, joe, we really need less to set down. i think he mislearned from the north korea experience. as all of us do at times. but now we see kim jong-un was the village of negotiators. he's not going anywhere with those nukes. however, trump is going to cue up that technique, try to use it on iran. terrible time to do it, because
you absolutely is to have allies, partners and friends if you're going into another war in the middle east, god forbid. this is probably the worst moment to use that style. and it's not going to get us anywhere. >> admiral, i wanted to pick up on what you're talking about in terms of allies but look at america's allies in the middle east. one of the ways that folks could look at the president's rhetoric on iran right now is that, oh, this was -- this is exactly what happened before he then sat down with north korea. but, iran is different in the sense that america's allies in the region do not want the u.s. to sit down and talk to iran or engage iran diplomatically. they have a very different view, unlike china and south korea had about north korea. so how does that impact the president's move forward in terms of whether he can dial this back and it leads to something other than some sort of military confrontation? >> you're absolutely right to raise that. it's sort of two legs of a
partnership in the middle east, right? it's the sunni allies led by our close partners in riyadh and it's of course, israel, the democracy in the region and our closest allied partner and friend. interestingly, those two are kind of moving close together. but neither of them is looking for a war with iran. i think we need to watch this in two dimensions. one is saudi and israeli cooperation in intelligence, in missile defense, in cyber. secondly, it's the arabianing g, that body of water in between saudi arabia and iran is going to be the potential flash point because here is the punch line and here is what drove that tweet. the iranians are talking about closing that water way and choking off oil if they are sanctioned. if they do that and they've done it before, they did it in the '80s, they did it in the '90s,
if they do that, can you spell gas prices rising and disruption in the oil markets? that's what's causing this visceral reaction from president trump. and it is a very dangerous game of chicken to be playing. >> so admiral, so we see from the president this kind of contrast or this conflict internally. he wants more conflict. he's bellicose and he rattles his saber. at the same time, he takes fewer efforts and fewer pains to keep our allies close. so what's the end game here if we're going into more conflict and more conflict with fewer and fewer friends? >> yeah. unfortunately america first is starting to turn into america alone. it's not just the nato piece in the nato summit as we pointed out it's the g7 summit in canada.
here is a news flash, we have the g20 coming up. now we have an opportunity to break relations, not only with the seven leading economies in the world but the top 20. so as a strategy, it is fraught. and it will not succeed. at the end of the day, the greatest strength this country has is that network of alliances, partnerships and friendships around the world. it's a hallow strategy. >> admiral, one more time this weekend donald trump once again denied that russia interfered with our 2016 election. if you're dan coats, if you're -- i mean, if you're gina haspel, if you're in the intel community, what do you do? just keep putting out statements letting the world know what the world already knows that the president of the united states is lying? >> i think that's true for
almost everybody, but i'm going to say senator, former ambassador dan coats for whom i have a lot of respect, i've worked with him for over a decade, known him a long time, but i think he's in a special category. he's the head of that intelligence community. that's what the director of national intelligence was established to do, was to kind of be the leader of the band. and when the president goes after that entire community, i think that ambassador coats, senator coats, director coats, ought to be thinking quite seriously about resigning. that's a personal decision for him. i know he's in it to serve the country. but he's been undermined at every turn. you have to ask yourself, when does yourself respect light go on? >> again, the president lied repeatedly over the past week. he then reversed his lie when he got caught lying and reversed back and starting lying again, seemed to reverse back and now again lying again about the
intelligence community, lying about what everybody knows, lying what you could actually probably get all courts in america to take judicial notice about. it is not a question in any rational person's mind that vladimir putin and the russians interfered in the 2016 election. everybody knows it. even donald trump. but he just keeps lying. what's that? >> absolute -- yep. absolutely correct. and the fundamental problem is how are our allies looking at that head-spinning series of reversals, joe. it undermines confidence globally. domestic actions have international consequences and they can lead to war. it's a dangerous moment. >> such a dangerous time. admiral, thank you as always. we appreciate it. coming up next, the president falls out with his former fixer, lashing out at michael cohen over the weekend
for taping that conversation about a former playboy model's payoff. if cohen was on the fence about flipping, the president may have pushed him over for good. we'll talk about all of that and the consequences not only for the southern district of new york case against cohen and possibly the president, but also the mueller investigation coming up on "morning joe." you're turning onto the street when you barely clip a passing car. minor accident - no big deal, right? wrong. your insurance company is gonna raise your rate after the other car got a scratch so small you coulda fixed it with a pen. maybe you should take that pen and use it to sign up with a different insurance company. for drivers with accident forgiveness liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident.
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you may remember a few months back mika and i were talking about how donald trump desperate to get stormy daniels news off the front page of the papers lurched on north korea and he got his wish, he got north korea news on the front page of the papers and put stormy daniel's story in the backseat for a day or two. now we get the news of michael cohen's tape. comes out that cohen recorded secretly donald trump talking about payoffs to a playboy model he had an affair with right after melania was pregnant and had their child baron. michael schmidt, what do we know about this tape?
what do we know about michael cohen's part of it, which explains so much of the president basically becoming so unmoored this weekend. >> michael cohen in september of before the election, two months before the 2016 election, secretly record this conversation in which he talks to trump about essentially a second payment being made to ensure that this model does not speak out publicly. this is part of the stuff that the feds took from michael cohen's office and that the authorities in new york are looking at as part of this larger investigation into what michael cohen was doing and whether these payments violated any election laws. now, the question is, is that will the feds be able to hold on to this stuff? there's a question about whether there's attorney/client privilege. does not look like the president is going to assert that, so they'll allow the authorities to have this. the president's lawyers say this may be personally and
politically embarrassing, it is not legally problematic for him. >> hey, ben wittes, i'm curious how you see this unfolding, 30,000 feet over the course of the last couple months we've watched michael cohen and paid attention to the words he's been saying, generally not a -- you see a guy who has been sending the signals he's been sending up to and inclusion his conversation with our own al sharpton is seeming to be drifting from the president, the president attacking him on twitter, the 30,000 foot question is in the grand scheme of things, is it still the case that the mueller investigation is really where the action is with donald trump? or is it that the president and some of his people asserted for now that they are more concerned about the president's legal jeopardy and political jeopardy with the michael cohen investigation in the southern district than they are, in fact, about bob mueller? >> well, i think the answer is
it may be a three-ring circus with many different fronts of action. and it's possible that both could be the case at the same time. i don't think the president would be spending all the time he is spending and his lawyers attacking the mueller investigation if they were without concerns about it. and it's also clear that any time your personal lawyer who has engaged in fixing for you, which is a polite way to describe paying hush money to porn stars and models, any time that person is publicly talking about cooperating with a separate criminal investigation, you have to be concerned about that as well. and so, i don't take off that seriously which investigation the president and his lawyers say they are more concerned
about. i think if you were gaming it out as a dispassionate analyst you would have to say both give them a lot of reason for concern and both give them reason for concern across a number of different axes. >> i like ben's reference to of what fixing means using the legal term of art. if i remember right from joe scarborough's time in law school, he did particularly well, too well in that course, the fixing course. that was the thing he excelled in. >> he got a masters degree aport from the law degree. >> very impressive. >> michael schmidt -- >> you know, i actually booked that class, by the way. you know, when i first ran for congress, everybody said, are you a lawyer? yeah, but in my defense, not a good one. but, fixing 102 in my second year, yeah, you're right, hyalman. i booked the class. it was awesome. i'm sorry, barnacle. go ahead. >> michael schmidt, in the fbi
warrants on michael cohen's various addresses, have you heard in your reporting, were there more than just one tape? >> well, in regards to the president, this is the most damaging tape that we know about. we think there may be other tapes that include the president but nothing of real substance. this is the most substantive one and it's actually pretty short. it's about two minutes long. so it's not very long. didn't seem like there's long tapes of conversations with the president. but cohen is believed to have other tapes of other conversations with other individuals. he represented different people. although he was trump's chief sort of outside lawyer, his fixer, he did work with others. and those materials are in this larger cachet of things that trump's lawyers, cohen's lawyers and the feds are fighting over about who will have access to. this sort of highlights the larger problem that ben was getting at about the new york investigation. the president's lawyers think
they understand the depth and breadth of the mueller investigation, what the issues are there for the president. they do not feel the same confidence about the new york investigation. they just don't know where it's going. and they don't know what the president's true exposure could be there. and there's some questions about whether the president and cohen have been as candid privately about their own lawyers about the extent of their relationship. >> wow, really, that would be a surprise. >> so carol, tell us so there are tapes now. and man there are tapes from michael cohen. what does it say about the president's circle that his most trusted and loyal guy who would take a bullet for him was secretly taping him in conversations that could be sensitive and incriminating? >> it's a great question and it's something that i was thinking about through all of this which is these are two individuals who are almost cut from the same cloth. i mean, michael cohen has essentially played the
president's own game in taping him. i think it shows that there was clearly some ground work perhaps for the deterioration we've seen in the relationship between these two, president trump and michael cohen. and a level of distrust, you know, i don't think you tape somebody unless you are worried about what somebody's retelling of a conversation might look like. and so clearly there was already some distrust. i think with each passing day we see the relationship between donald trump and michael cohen reach new lows. >> all right. carol lee, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> michael schmidt, thank you as well. thanks so much for the great work you do. and benjamin wittes, thank you and thank you for law fair's emergency podcasts. we need more. we need more. thanks for being with us. >> thanks. coming up, president trump reverses his reversals on russia's election meddling, tweeting just moments ago about
the, quote, discredited mueller witch hunt. let's see now, the discredited mueller witch hunt, they've indicted, what, 25, 26, 28 russians. let's see his campaign manager is in jail and going to trial. his national security adviser -- oh, guilty he's pled guilty working with the feds. let's see, one of his top foreign policy advisers, according to him, pled guilty working with the feds. rick gates, one of his top campaign aides who also worked in the inauguration, he pled guilty. he's also cooperating with the feds. yeah, lot of witches out there, mr. president. you're right. we'll be right back on "morning joe." who would have thought,
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just, you know, kind of don't want to hear about. they've got more important things to worry about. i understand that. but it seems to me and devin nunes's district, i know there are good republicans out there, good conservatives out there that have seen that their representative has spent his time in congress over the past two years undermining the federal bureau investigation, attacking their agents, undermining the intel agencies and actually revealing sources and methods to isis, to al qaeda, to ex-kgb agents, so america's worst enemies. any consequences for devin nunes in that race? >> well, we'll see about that. but i will say that for the first time devin nunes lived in a safe republican district for a pretty long time. their most recent polling, ppp poll came out in early july reflecting end of june eight-point lead over his democratic rival and under 50%, 49/41 in that poll. it's a democratic-leaning
polling firm to be fair, i know a lot of democrats were looking at that seat and saying devin nunes is vulnerable and we'll put nomoney in to try to take h out. >> over the past four years ppp has been right more than it's been wrong. that's interesting. coming up, fire and fury donald trump is threatening iran just like he threatened north korea, only this time he didn't do it from a golf club but on twitter. plus, the ultimate gaslighting attempt as the president claims the obama administration never told his campaign about moscow's meddling efforts. actually they did. they say if you see something, say something. we're going to be talking to "the washington post" philip rucker and much more when "morning joe" returns. little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable
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♪ keep it comin' love. if you keep on eating, we'll keep it comin'. all you can eat riblets and tenders at applebee's. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. welcome back to "morning joe." you're looking at live shots of washington, d.c. it's july, 23rd. with us we have msnbc contributor, mike barnacle, national affairs nationalist for nbc and msnbc, john heilemann, political writer for new york times and msnbc political analyst, nick confessorry and joining the discussion, professor at history at tulling university, walter isaacson, political analyst for msnbc and nbc news fill ip ruphilliip ruc mcquaid and washington correspondent for cnbc amman
javers. let's start with you. you talked about this past week and you have the michael cohen tape coming out and all the chaos surrounding that. talk about the white house. again, dysfunctional place from the very beginning. but just talk about just how volatile this past week was with the helsinki summit, trump claiming that he forgot to insert a word, the next day trump changing his term and this weekend after the cohen tape his head blowing up like a character off of looney tunes, explosion off the top. and all cap tweeting this weekend, what's -- how is the white house trying to contain the damage? >> look, they're compartmentalizing it in many ways. i was in helsinki with the president. it was a fascinating trip. when we see this fracturing of the michael cohen/donald trump relationship.
it could be one of the most important story lines of the year. because there's no -- we have no way of knowing really where this is going go. when you ask folks at the white house about any of that, they simply refuse to comment. they're at this point picking everything over to the legal team that's handling all this for the president on a personal basis. the white house staff won't talk about any of the michael cohen tapes, that sort of thing. what's on the tapes and how many are there? we talked about this one tape over the weekend. it was the existence of which was reported. the contents of which have not been reported yet. that's the key thing is what exactly did the president say on these tapes? how many of them does michael cohen have? and what's michael cohen's game here? what's he going to do? is he going to dribble these out week by week over the next coming months? is he trying to waive a red flag and get the president's attention and get a pardon? what's he trying to accomplish by letting the world know that these tapes exist? i think that dynamic between those two men is going to be so important to watch going forward
here. >> well, and nick confessore, let's talk about the culture in the white house, the cultural around donald trump. that supposedly his fixer, his most trusted fixer his most loyal ally is a guy that's privately taping conversations that he's having with the president and then waiving them in public for the feds to see. >> i mean, look, joe, president trump is now paying the price for surrounding himself with certain kinds of people at certain times. he's paying the price with paul manafort who was in hock to a russian oligarch and spent his career working for sketchy decemb dispits around the world. his fixer was building insurance against him. if that's your best guy and your top guy on your campaign, you
are in for a world of hurt when things start to unravel. think back to past presidents, joe, bill clinton or george bush, even at times when they were at their lowest in office, they had people around them who were intensely loyal to the end and still are to this day. you have to ask yourself, is there anybody left who actually feels that kind of loyalty to president trump, aside from his family? >> yeah. and walter isaacson, you have a president who this past week has melted down on the world stage at helsinki, he made a fool of himself, he looked like a bumbling dupe, a useful idiot for vladimir putin, everybody that saw it saw very clearly that he disregarded 70 years of u.s. foreign policy, did what the soviets tried to get accomplished for 50, 60 years which is separate the united states for nato. then he came back, he had to apologize, then this weekend
he's gone back to saying, wait a second, the intel communities were lying, it's all a hoax. then last night in all caps he goes full trump. you never go full trump, but he went full trump, talking about fire and fury aimed at iran. what are we to make of it? >> you know, in bio technologies, there's a notion of having a virus that can go in and rip apart dna of something and change the entire g gnome of an organizism. it's as if donald trump has been weaponized over the years by vladimir putin to go in and do putin's bidding, to change the genetic code of nato of the republican party of the united states of democracy. and it is astonishing how he has become such an effective and destructive virus created by
vladimir putin. >> so phil, i want to ask you because you wrote -- "the washington post" published a great tick tock last week about the incredible week that was and the various backtrackings and attempts to apologize and not apologize happening over the course of the week. on this monday as the president over the weekend in his all caps way tried to -- i don't want -- turn the page is the wrong metaphor, try to put last week behind him and move on to other topics, where do we stand on this monday with respect to what i think was historic week last week in the annals of the trump presidency, is it in the rear-view mirror, the president is very ungamely in how he does it, are we going to be talking about a lot of the same topics and the fallout from last week again as we move forward into this week? >> i think this will linger for a while for a couple of reasons. first of all, we still don't know exactly what was discussed in that one-on-one meeting between president trump and president putin. the russians have been dulling
out details, morsels, news nuggets from that meeting to reporters in moscow. that's really what we know about the meeting. we have yet to hear any substantive detailed briefing from the american officials about what was discussed, what may or may not have been agreed to. so i think until we have that, we're not going to have closure from the helsinki incident, but i also have to tell you, this is still bothering the president, trump that is. i don't think this is going to go away. he is tweeting about russia again this morning. and at the core of all of this clouding his judgment, according to white house officials, is his inability to distinguish between meddling of which there's clear evidence that russia did this and collusion. and he sees it all as sort of in the same bucket. >> right. >> which is a problem for him. >> phil, let me ask you a quick followup. you said until there's a detailed briefing of what happened in the closed door secret meeting that was secret even to dan coats. do we have any expectation that there's ever going to be a detailed readout of what
happened in that meeting? and if we do have that expectation, when? and if we don't have that expectation, is there anything that the press core can try to do to make it so? >> unless something has been scheduled in the last three minutes, i don't think it's coming up today. we'll have to see. part of the problem is that senior government officials don't actually know what was discussed in detail in that meeting. we know a laundry list of the issues, of course, syria, a whole bunch of other issues that trump has put on twitter that he discussed about, but we don't know the substantive details. there were no notes that were taken. there's no transcript of what was said. and even dan coats as he said last week in aspen to andrea mitchell doesn't know what was talked about between those two presidents. >> walter, looking at the canvas of history, and you've looked at it quite often, last week was historic in the sense that dan coats, director of national intelligence, had no idea that putin would be invited to the white house. you could ask and he was asked secretary pompeo, other people
what occurred between putin and donald trump in that meeting and they didn't really know. they didn't really know the extent of the details of the conversation, so it now appears that the united states of america is being led by a president who is all alone, very little staff work around. >> and unhinged. >> yeah. >> totally unhinged. in other words, he doesn't know the truth from when he's making things up. and the real problem there is that in helsinki, there were real things to figure out like will the russians help iran and syrian forces to move out the forces. the u.s. commander says, no, that's not happening. that's the type of thing you usually coordinate your military in the field, your national security staff, your defense secretary, all that before you figure out what do we want russia to do in syria. this is something that's not only unprepared, it's a fantasy. and almost like it's a tv
reality show unprepared. >> it is. joe? >> yeah. for the first time in the history of the 40--year-old secret court established by the foreign intelligence surveillance act, there were documents supporting a warrant that were released this weekend to the public, unbelievable. a freedom of information act lawsuit disclosed in the october, 2016, application to wiretapping carter page, a trump campaign with foreign policy adviser along with several renewal applications were released after president trump declassified their existence earlier this year. among those 400 pages, many which are redacted, the application states that the fbi believes page is the subject of targeted recruitment by the russian government. and it identifies page as a former foreign policy adviser to a candidate for president. that would be donald trump. it says the fbi believes the russian government's efforts are being coordinated with page and perhaps other individuals
associated with the campaign and adds the fbi believes that page is collaborating and conspireing with the russian government. page called the claimsry doik louse and, quote, so misleading. page spoke with senior russian officials about lifting sanctions related to russia's actions in ukraine, unredacted portion shows it used other materials as well. the application and its renewal show that all of the judges who signed off on the wiretapping were appointed by republicans. yes, four republican judges, four, count them, four republican judges saw the applications and four republican judges signed off on the applications. let's bring in barbara mcquaid. barbara, you look through the materials. you look through the information and it is inescapable that these
four republican judges were not on any ideological mission, that the evidence presented to them certainly was enough to cross the threshold of probable cause. what did you see in those documents that were released? >> well, of course significant portions of the documents are redacted. but as you say, it makes a compelling case that there is probably cause to believe that carter page is acting as an agent of a foreign power which is the standard a judge must find in order to grant a warrant under fisa. this is out now in the public domain. for 40 years, as you said, there has been this arrangement between congress and the executive branch that they would provide oversight but these materials would stay classified. when i was a prosecutor working on these cases, one point that was constantly drilled to us is that these fisa applications can never be turned over and you must fight to protect them because of the process, because of the sources and methods that get included in there and
because the arrangement we have in our intelligence community. i think that the short-term effect of this release is to give confidence to the public that fisa was used appropriately but the consequence is to severely damage our intelligence community and their ability to recruit sources to provide information knowing there's a possibility that could be released to the public somewhere down the road. >> also, walter isaacson, even when i was a member of congress, the identity of the fisa judges were kept quiet. if you ever spoke to a member, i was on the judiciary committee and had a meeting with a fisa judge once, and even then they guarded every word. it was such a secretive process. the idea that devin nunes with the help of the speaker of the house paul ryan dragged these four judges out into the broad daylight, dragged the process,
dragged the procedures, out into the broad daylight all to protect a president who doesn't deserve this type of protection where you actually reveal your techniques and your sources to the rest of the world, isis, al qaeda, all of our enemies, foreign and domestic. what justification could there be for paul ryan to allow this to happen? >> the only rational for it is that you want to undermine the institutions of our society. you want to undermine our intelligence agency. you want to make people no longer trust our intelligence process and the fisa courts. that's one of the long-term damages that the trump administration and trump personally is inflicting on us is this ability to be a corrosive, cancerous force in this notion of what we do with
our intelligence sources and how we respect them. i think they're willing to undermine that credibility of all of our law enforcement agencies in order to protect trump on this investigation. and the weird thing is that paul ryan could easily stop it. but republicans especially in the house they have a choice between losing their primaries or losing their soul and they're all making the deal with the devil that they'll be very, very upset about 10, 20 years from now when they lost their soul because they haven't protected american institutions. >> hey, amman javers, i want to ask you to talk about how the president started jawboning the fed and criticizing his own fed chair in an era the president takes a flame thrower to presidential norms on a daily basis, this almost gets not
noticed now because it seems like a minor thing compared to the other houses that he's burning down, but in previous administrations, other president had done something like this, there would be much hue and cry. >> look, it's not a minor thing in the financial world. the independence of the fed is sacrosanct. what we saw last week from the president was the president sort of simultaneously saying, look, i don't like the idea that the fed is raising interest rates. i think it will hurt the economy going into the midterm elections. it's frustrating to me. i'll let them do what they think is right. the white house insists that the president respects the independence of the fed even though what he is saying publicly is he doesn't want them to raise interest rates because he thinks it will undermine the economy. he's sort of having it both ways here. and the reason is because the fed is coming out of this long post recession period, post 2008 they lowered interest rates dramatically to near zero over the years. interest rates are very historic
lows right now and they're trying to ratchet them up slowly going forward in order to prevent inflation from breaking out and damaging the economy and get back to more normal interest rates. that's a challenge for the fed financially but it's also a challenge now politically with the president saying what he said last week on cnbc. it's a fascinating moment for a president who doesn't really like the idea that there are these other independent power sources out there and wants to control them all. he says, i'm going to let them do what they're doing right now. but the question is does the president think he has the authority to tell the fed what to do? and we don't know the answer to that right knew. >> my guess is the answer is yes. >> barbara, let's get back to the point of the fisa warrants, names of the judges on the front page of the papers and what this does potentially or in reality to intelligence gathering. our intelligence gathering abilities in the united states.
the united states attorneys throughout the country dealing with fisa courts, the secrecy that once surrounded them that appears now to have a door opened on it that i don't know how you close it. >> yeah. i agree with you. you know, fisa was enacted after the abuses of watergate in the late 1970s. before that the executive branch was allowed to do whatever it wanted in the realm of national security. and because of concerns about abuses, about wiretapping martin luther king and others, the church committee came up with this very complicated apparatus that was congress will provide oversight and then we will create this secret court called the fisa court, foreign intelligence surveillance act court. it will be done in secret and never see the light of day because we so carefully value the secrecy, the sources, the methodings. that's necessary to be successful in recruiting them. the recruitment of sources takes place over many years as you
carefully and delicately build trust with people and promise them their identity will never be disclosed. so through that you're able to develop this network of sources all around the world who provide sensitive information that is great value to the intelligence community to help identify threats, prevent attacks and disrupt plots against america. if you can't protect what they say or who they are or their identities, then that makes it much harder to develop those sources to have that result of protecting and disrupting america. and the person who declassified the fisa applications in this case is president trump. he is the one who declassified it and that's why we have this. this is a really subtle attack on our institutions that i think most people in the public won't notice but i think those people who work in law enforcement and intelligence community are really reeling from. >> phil rucker, in your story this weekend you chronicle the walkback, the walkback to the walkback to the walkback and finally the walkback to the
walkback to the walkback, but tell us how this second meeting came about and why in the middle of all this controversy over the botched first meeting that the president decided to have a second meeting with putin. >> yeah. so president trump and president putin had talked sort of casually in their meeting back in helsinki about the likelihood of having additional future meetings. but it wasn't until thursday of last week. remember, that's the morning when the president woke up early and was on a twitter tear, calling the press the enemy of the people. he was mad. he was upset with the press coverage of the helsinki summit and picked up the phone and called john bolton, the national security adviser and gave him an order and said plan the summit, invite vladimir putin to washington and make it happen and bolton scrambled to make it happen and did it largely sort of on his own as we know dan coats was not aware of this.
this was not some sort of formal national security council meeting to discuss the plan for a putin summit. within a few hours the invitation was made to moscow and it was announced on twitter by sarah sanders. >> amazing story. >> unbelievable. all right, philip rucker, barbara mcquaid, thank you for being with us this morning. still ahead on "morning joe," majority of americans were not happy about how the president handled his meeting with president putin. fewer approve of how he treated america's intel services. we'll break that down with new polling straight ahead on "morning joe." ♪ dear foremothers, your society was led by a woman, who governed thousands... ...commanded armies... ...yielded to no one. when i found you in my dna, i learned where my strength comes from. my name is courtney mckinney, and this is my ancestrydna story.
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53% say they disapprove of president trump's expressing doubt about u.s. intelligence agency's collusion that russia tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. 29% say they approve. so john heilemann, those are fairly low numbers, only 29% approve of his questioning the u.s. intel community. that's pretty good. only one third approve of his performance in helhelsinki. maybe there is hope yet that this president won't be allowed to adopt soviet era style attitudes towards nato. >> that's not the republican base, that's the trump base that's approving of his performance in helsinki and attacks on the intelligence community. i will say you made a reference earlier in the show to the fact that we pay attention to the trump base, should pay attention to the trump base and trump voters and i agree with you, we should. but over the weekend i think your nate silver tweeted
something out or said something somewhere that i read about how he's old enough to remember an election cycle all we talked about was independent voters. that's all we focussed on. what the independent voter was thinking. i believe that election cycle was 2016. now not even two years later all we talk about is the trump base, how solid is it, with no disrespect to them and with a clear eye of any political analyst has to pay attention to that, it is weird that we are not paying more attention to the majority of americans who do disapprove of this president, do disapprove of his behavior on the world stage and importantly those voters in the middle of the electorate who are going to make the difference this november not the trump base. >> well, yeah. i agree with my good friend nate silver, thank you for identifying him properly. but i identify with my good friend nate silver that donald trump -- and i've always -- i
talked about it, 33%. on this issue he's got one out of three voters. he's got the trump base. even in his best days he's still in the minority. he has 40%. when people talk to me about how the world is coming to an end and we won't survive this. i know, joe, you say we're always going to survive, but we won't survive this. yes, yes, we will. donald trump is on his better days a 40% president. on days like today, on this issue, he's got one out of -- that's still the minority of voters in america. and mike barnacle, as bleak as things seem when donald trump goes off the cliff -- again, adopts the foreign policy of soviet kgb spies towards nato, you can bet that the majority of americans are going to keep
their heads, punish him and punish those who are covering up for him and vladimir putin. >> yeah, joe, i agree with you. we are going to survive this and i also agree oddly enough with john heilemann who raised an important point. >> rarity, holy moly, what happened? >> it's monday morning. >> somebody spike your coffee this morning? >> i'm tired. >> irish coffee this morning. irish coffee. >> there is, i think, oddly enough a new silent majority out there and people in the middle in this country sitting there observing everything everyday, what we say on these shows, what they hear, what they read. and i don't think they're going anywhere near donald trump right now. they're just sitting there. they're the deciders. and walter, you live in the country. you live in new orleans. >> i think the issue of a new silent majority is a fascinating one because i was just out in california in the west, in louisiana, you see this growing thing, it hasn't been tapped into as sort of like, hey, we're
more sensible in this country. i was wondering who could possibly harness that. you have to figure out what type of midterm candidate and what type of presidential candidate can harness this new silent majority you talk about. >> correct. >> well, and you know, mike, i've been to middle america. i've been off the beaten path. i werode out to the lighthouse last week. i have been to where the heart of america beats the strongest. but you know what, northwest florida it's very interesting. a lot of people i've talked to actually that voted for donald trump and of course if donald trump were lucky enough to draw hillary clinton again, which he won't, they would vote for donald trump again. they're not going to do anything they think helps the media or helps nancy pelosi or helps fill in the blank. at the same time, there is a sense of exhaustion. >> yes. >> which is he's making me so
tired. even in red state america where i was born and raised, i talked to my friends, they're just exhausted by it all. and there's not going to be -- it's just -- it's not going to be as simple as donald trump versus hillary clinton. donald trump versus editorial page of new york times, donald trump versus msnbc. you know, it never works out that way in politics. it's just things will be much more difficult for him in the fall. go ahead. >> let me ask you this quick question as a political strategist, right. if that's right, if there's a big silent majority and big animated base that hates donald trump, right? we're headed into the midterm elections and you're now the chief strategist for the dscc, how do you deal with the strategic conundrum i have to get the base out if we're going to take back control of either
house and congress but i also want to appeal to the silent majority because there's a lot more of them than there are people on the democratic base on the left, that is a real fundamental strategic challenge. go, what's the solution? >> well, you talked about my good friend nate silver. one of the -- thank you for identifying nate as my good friend. he is. but nate silver's website 538 had a fascinating article a couple of weeks ago where they found the one district in america or maybe it was the one county in america that barack obama won by 20 points and that donald trump won by 20 points. >> right, if i'm not mistaken it was in iowa. biggest swing in america. what were the three issues? one, money and politics. two, health care. i'm sorry right now three is escaping me. i think it was tax loopholes is very simple, you win this election if you're a democrat like parties out of power have always won elections.
you talk about corruption in the trump administration, that's really easy. when you look at the list of cabinet agencies that have been run by corrupt people who have already been kicked out of office, that's number one. number two, you talk about health care. donald trump promised you and me and your children and my children better health care coverage that was going to be cheaper, that was going to be more exclusive. now they're trying to take away pre-existing condition coverage and they haven't replaced health care. health care is much worse today, much more expensive than it was before. and it's only going to get worse between now and the elections. you have corruption one. number two you talk about health care. and number three, loopholes. the most damning thing that i would put if i were running against a republican that voted for trump's tax cuts, i would get his exact ver bait from the night after he signed the tax cuts, he flew down in the 757 jet, went down to mar-a-lago,
got off the plane, went to mar-a-lago and he was surrounded by billionaires. what did he say to those billionaires? i just made you a lot of money today. he signed tax cuts for his billionaire friends. you put those three things together, nobody is going to be talking about russia. nobody is going to be talking about the economy. they're going to be going after donald trump's corrupt republican party. how does that work for you? >> sounds pretty good to me. >> sounds like a great stump speech. >> there's a job opening at the dccc, i think you're ready to take it. >> no. i'm good. i'm good. again -- >> he's a small country lawyer, man. >> i'm a dumb country lawyer. i'm going to stay right here in the heart of america. coming up next, we'll bring in usa today susan page, the editor and chief of politico magazine whose new piece is titled "why i am no longer a russia gate skeptic."
page and editor in chief of politico magazine, blake houndshell. he is out with this latest piece titled "why i'm no longer a russia gate skeptic." blake, there have been contrary to what you might hear on right wing radio or right wing tv, there have been quite a few russia gate skeptics in the mainstream media. not only you but i read some at the new yorker and some in other publications, but you say the latest round of indictments from mueller, the latest round of russians and other things that are happening have turned you away from your skepticism. tell us why? >> let me be clear, i was never skeptical about russian meddling in the election. i was skeptical whether we would ever find out that donald trump privately colluded with the russians to tip things in his favor. and not only did this latest
round of indictments turn my mind, but also president trump's trip to the nato summit and to helsinki. i mean, just look at what you saw. he couldn't have acted more like a russian stooge if you scripted it. it was something that was alarming. >> blake, give us the -- what was the most sign that you saw in helsinki. >> he had an opportunity standing there with president putin to denounce the election meddling and back the unanimous conclusion of u.s. intelligence agencies and instead he spouted these conspiracy theories and sounded like info wars up there on this international stage. so, it was really quite alarming. >> yeah. >> susan, this is walter isaacson, you've been talking about how republicans now are beginning to just show some sign
of pushing back on the president. yet, when i look at him, it's usually the bob corkers and the flakes who are leaving, and the people like devin nunes still seem unhinged about this thing even though the release of the memos prove they were wrong in what they said. do you see any real signs of pushbacks now against the president from within his party? >> you know, one of the qualities you see with republicans who push back are that they are not on the ballot, that they are leaving politics. and that is the calculation by most republicans that almost 9 out of 10 republicans support the president even now despite all this controversy, but i think i do see some early signs of pushback in the president's cabinet for one thing, including that remarkable interview with dan coats and the votes we saw in the senate the past two weeks that stood up against tariffs, stood up in favor of nato and against the idea that the
president floated or entertained that we might allow russians to interrogate former u.s. ambassador to russia. so, i'm not -- you don't want to overstate the degree of political courage that you now see on republicans, but i do feel like this whole situation is now accelerating in a way that maybe changing where we are and i would be looking at things like the release of the fisa application that provides evidence to back up some of the -- to counter some of the claims that devin nunes and others were making or the manafort trial starting which will also provide us with more information to counter conspiracy theories. >> good luck with your book "profiles and courage." i'm not trying to spoil the full plot line yet. >> blake, we now see a further walkback from dan coats, this was a week and a weekend of walkbacks. he is now saying he didn't intend to dis the president.
it was merely an awkward response to a question in a live interview. what strikes me and i'm curious for your opinion on this, it is actually fairly rare for a cabinet official to disagree with the president in public. and i'm curious if that plays into your own daunting feelings, the scales falling from your eyes about russia gate, the fact that the president's own top appointee on intelligence, the spy master of the united states, the intelligence chief, and his performance on that stage at the aspen festival. >> well, you know, he's normally a very quiet guy and maybe there's something about the air in aspen that led him to be a little more vocal than he normally would be. he's clearly not intending to resign if you're going to walk back something like that. not exactly a profile courage to pick up what walter was saying. there's something about this president that makes people continually bend the knee even when they get out of line a little bit.
>> interesting. >> mike barnacle, i want to ask you this, a lot of people feel the way blake feels, last week was a turning point, for me, i have to say, i was on vacation when this happened, the rosenstein indictments came down against the russians, that was the moment i say, you know what, bob mueller's got this. like, that was the moment most extraordinary documents i have ever read in the entire history of covering politics, covering anything, i wonder when you saw that that you said to yourself, not that you didn't have faith in bob mueller's faith as a prosecutor, you looked and said this level of detail, this level of knowledge what the russians are doing, if there is collusion between the russians and anybody on the trump campaign including the president of the united states, bob mueller's going to have it. >> can you imagine what vladimir putin must have thought when he read that? that not only are they, the united states intelligence apparatus, not only are they here, they are surrounded us. they know exactly what we're doing and what we're up to. but all of it, you know, bob
mueller's operation, we don't know what he's going to do. nobody does other than the people working for him, but all of it raises the question and susan was talking about this as a subtle change some place in washington and the senate, whatever. i don't get the fact that jeff flake and bob corker not running for re-election, why are they not more pronounced in their opposition to what this president is doing to the country? susan, i don't get it. >> it's a great question. >> you know, i think it's a fair question. and it's at odds with the experience we had during the watergate scandal when members of the president's party provided kind of the crucial elements of that debate that forced him to resign. this is a different time. it is so much more polarized, the politics is so much more
poisonous. i don't think that gives politicians a pass on what they do, but i think it does make it a different landscape. you know, we're going to have two things that will determine how this comes out. one is what bob mueller finally reports and the second is what happens in the midterm elections which are approaching fast. and that is the way that americans have a chance to speak up, if there is the silent majority that you were talking about, this is when we'll hear from them. i think that's the point where we'll be able to make a serious assessment of where we're headed as a country. >> and yet, walter isaacson today, four minutes ago, i just see rand paul's pathetic tweet, sand and pathetic, sad and pathetic tweet by rand paul, today i will meet with the president and i will ask him to revoke john brennan's security
clearance. >> oh, man. you got to be kidding me? >> he has a chance to meet with the president of the united states and talk about donald trump adopting the kgb's approach to nato, to kowtowing to vladimir putin, talk about so many things that most americans are concerned about, about him undermining the fbi, the director of national intelligence, the cia and yet he's going, rand paul, a united states senator, is going to the white house to talk about john brennan? how pathetic is that. >> talking about devin nunes' security clearance which paul ryan was at one point strong enough to push back on devin nunes. but now you just see weaklings, weak backbones, people being craven and, you know, nobody is going to write the profiles in courage for a while because so many people have sold their souls just for the sake of a little bit of a primary victories. they're not going to go down in history savoring those primary
victories if they've lost their soul. >> sad a pa thend pathetic. you listen to what rand paul said about donald trump during the debates. you look at him now. it really is a real, real tragedy. blake hounshell, thank you so much. susan page, stay with us. still ahead, there's energy and momentum with the progressive movement these days, but there's also the question of whether the moderate wing of the democratic party can keep up and what that means if they can't.
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michigan. i have been reading these articles this weekend. i have to say it reminds me a lot of -- i know this will shock you. i was a member of congress. >> i heard. >> but in my first race -- yeah, in my first race, newt gingrich announced to everybody, and i think it was in roll call, i was too conservative to be elected in my district, i was a right wing extremist and beware. it ended up those concerns didn't mean anything across the country because actually districts decided who they wanted to send, and if i was more conservative than my district, so be it. isn't the same true in 2018, be they progressive, be they moderate? i mean democrats are going to get out and vote for the people that they carried through the primaries? >> there's no doubt about that. i think, you know, we are pretty forgetful in this country. it wasn't that long ago we saw conor lamb win a district because he fit the district. we had other cases in the special elections where we thought we had a chance. we spent a lot of money on
candidates in districts that they didn't match. the most important thing is that we have candidates who are authentic, who understand the people in their district, who understand the problems that they face and are willing to speak to them. i don't believe in this sort of unified brand concept. i think the idea is we elect representatives. those representatives better reflect the people in those communities. i reflect the people in flint, saginaw, bay city. that's why i'm in congress. >> yeah. >> i couldn't get elected in some of these other districts. i think we forget that sometimes. >> yeah, i think we do too. mike, after i got elected, i had so many people come up to me in airports, come up to me in the grocery store, at baseball games with my kids, and they would say, hey, you're a lot more conservative than i am, but you are a straight shooter and i voted for you even though i know i'm going to disagree with you 50% of the time. like dan said, they vote for the person they feel like they can trust. they feel like the person that they feel like is going to fight
for them. and if you are a democrat or if you are an independent, that may be somebody more progressive than you. >> yeah, you know, there are 435 congressional districts, joe, as you know. i would assume -- i would bet a lot of them are completely different from one another. your district, if you go around your district, the top two or three things that are priorities for your constituents might be different than they are if you represent detroit or milwaukee or des moines, iowa. so what are the top three things they hammer you about? >> i mean it is also about jobs and the economy. it is about pension security, and it is about the fact -- i mean in flint, that the infrastructure is falling apart around us and they don't see congress doing anything about it. if i am talking about those things, i am talking about the things that people back home care about. so it doesn't make sense for me to import a message that may have worked in some district where they have different issues or different priorities or different, you know, ideological bent, to try to import that into my district is ridiculous. we have seen it happen.
the and cans candidates i speak to when they come through town or i visit in their districts, we talk about how they can run their race, i tell them one thing. just be yourself. just go out there and speak in plain language. don't let somebody tell you to use a catch phrase. use the words you use in everyday conversation and talk about the things that people in your communities are talking about. you will either get elected or you won't, but no matter what happens it will be something that's done with integrity. >> congressman, fair enough. all politics is local. mike barnacle's younger brother, tip o'neill, he used to say that all of the time. but the reality is that donald trump is an overreaching in our elections. trump is going to be at the center of these midterm elections in every district, there will be a conversation about it. how dangerous is it or how helpful is it do you think, again, putting aside the local thing -- just on a national level -- for democrats to be talking about the impeachment of
donald trump? >> i don't think impeachment is a conversation that helps, but i do -- >> anywhere? >> i mean it may come to that at some point in time, but, you know, i'm confident that the mueller investigation is going to reveal everything we need to know about donald trump. i believe that. i think we can then answer those questions when they come. but i think out in the country, when we talk about donald trump, it has to be in comparison to -- we have to compare our goals and our message to the chaos that donald trump has brought to america. that's about as far as i think we need to go. no one defines donald trump in all of the chaos that he represents better than donald trump. i can't compete with it. so all i need to do is present something that looks like order, that looks like direction, and juxtapose that against the chaos of donald trump and not see everything through trump world. this guy said he was going to shake things up. he is shaking things up, but it is not for the people i represent. you know, it is for his own interests or for whatever, you know, his ego requires.
>> congressman susan page here. the democratic base is pretty energized by the idea of opposing the confirmation of brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. i wonder if you think democrats ought to really embrace that or should there be a kind of pass by the party to some of the democratic senators representing red states, people like joe manchin, for instance, or joe donnelly, and not give them a hard time if they choose to vote for the confirmation of kavanaugh? >> well, i'm one, i don't really believe that a senator's vote on a supreme court confirmation is going to be the issue that determines whether people in indiana or west virginia vote for their senator. they're going to be concerned about the things they care about. and if they raise this, if it becomes an issue, it has to be because of the threat that this nominee presents to the affordable care act and protection for people with preexisting conditions, to a woman's right to make a choice about their own health care. but i don't believe at the end
of the day that a vote for or against the supreme court nominee is the determining factor in the minds of somebody in indiana who is worrying about how they're going to make their next paycheck or make their next mortgage payment. >> all right. congressman dan kildee, thank you so much for being with us. we greatly appreciate it. susan page and walter isaacson, thank you both as well. still to come this morning, president trump threatens iran in a late night tweet. how long before he calls for a summit and then claims he actually averted war with tehran? a lot of people are asking that question this morning. plus, the president once suggested he has tapes of his conversations with james comey. ended up that was a lie. he was later forced to admit it. but now it is a different set of recordings that could spell trouble for the white house. we'll talk about that when "morning joe" returns. ♪
"morning joe." it is monday, july 23rd. we've got three big stories this morning, each with a direct line to the next. first, president trump screaming over twitter last night. i mean he's been screaming all weekend, but last night he was screaming, instead of screaming about republican judges he was screaming about the republican guard and his threat to wipe out iran. now, as we've seen in the past, he also dials up his rhetoric on foreign policy when things start falling apart here at home. in this case, it is, of course, the news that his long-time lawyer michael cohen recorded a conversation where he and donald trump were scheming and discussing payments involving a former playboy model. and that is all playing out in public. also out in the open, the justice department fisa warrant for the former trump adviser
carter page. that's been redacted, but this line was clear as day. quote, the fbi believes that page has been collaborating and conspiring with the russian government. also, four republican judges obviously thought there was something there. with us we have msnbc contributor mike barnacle, national affairs analyst for nbc news and msnbc news john highland. nbc political an lest nick convasori. carol lee. editor in chief of law fair, ben gentlemanman wittis. and "new york times" reporter michael schmidt. john heilman, i don't know if trump supporters digest twitter the way i digest twitter, but if they do these days, especially on summer weekends, they're
probably getting one line into his rantings and it is like scrolling on. been there, done that. but the amount of vitriol, the amount of just craziness, the level of unmoored behavior by the president this weekend was over the top. it is always over the top, but the intensity is picking up. of course, it ended with him talking about fire and fury coming to iran. >> right. >> is this a president who is feeling even more cornered than usual because of the michael cohen tapes? >> well, it is hard to judge exactly how cornered he feels relative to other times he's feeling cornered. i will say on friday when the michael cohen story broke my first thought was there's going to be a lot of all caps this weekend. we saw a lot of all caps this weekend. >> there were. >> on a vort ariety of topics. as you pointed out, often
foreign policy has become a place that's refuge for him. it was strange, there was a period, a brief moment after the summit in singapore with kim jong-un where, you know, the notion that he had engaged in this incredibly heated, bellicose rhetoric with north korea that had somehow driven north korea to the table where he could make the argument in his own demented way that that kind of brinksmanship paid off. given the way things are going in north korea right now, it is not so clear there's anything you could point to, even again in donald trump's tenuous logic that suggests that, hey, this kind of brinksmanship, this independent can of firing up the rhetoric, this kind of ex clbeh is going to pay off on the foreign policy stage. i think at heart you're right, this is again one of the many diversions he tried to throw up over the weekend, places where anything that's not a discussion of russia and anything that's not a discussion of his sex life
is in his view good for business. >> yeah. mike barnacle, speaking of russia, the lies just continued. again, i'm talking about -- i know everybody goes, oh, we have to understand the trump voter, who is the trump voter, we can't be disrespectful of the trump voter. i know a lot of people who were trump voters, got a lot of friends who were trump voters, got family members who were trump voters, but even they cannot believe the bald faced lies, the obvious lies, the third grade level lies, the stupidity that comes through in these tweets, where the president has gone back this weekend and now said that putin didn't try to interfere in the 2016 election. so obama knew what russia was doing before the election. why didn't he do something about it? why didn't he tell our campaign? because it is all a big hoax, that's why.
and he thought crooked hillary was going to win. so donald trump again talking about how -- what our four intel agencies have all told him, his appointees have told him, that russia did try to interfere in the election. but here he is once again playing stooge, playing dupe for vladimir putin and the former soviet spy. >> yeah, he had a tough week. it was a week of double negatives and retractions and apologies -- not apologies, but coming back with other explanations. carter page, a very unstable person involved, the fbi involved, the misleading tweet about what the fbi was doing surveilling carter page. all of that, capped off last night, 11:30 p.m. last night, all caps, you know, you better watch out iran or something will happen to you that's never happened before in the history of the world, whatever he said. unfortunately -- >> yeah. >> -- i think -- i think it kind
of works for him with his constituents. it is a great deflection. but i think -- >> you know -- >> i think it kind of works out there. >> but, mike, you can only hand the rose to the wrong woman so many times in "bachelor." >> mike has proven that to be untrue, joe. >> while you're lying to the other one, like after a while people -- like abc can't do that at the end of the season again. donald trump does view this as a reality show, but i'm telling you, it is my job to read his stupid tweets even when they're lies. i just -- and i've gotten to the point where i go, why bother? i will just read what the news says about the stupid tweets because i'm not going to waste my time. that's not out of anger. >> but i mean we have to define -- >> that's just i've seen it a thousand times before, and i'm just saying if i'm feeling that way, even trump supporters have
got to start feeling that way. yeah, it is going to lie. he's going to go in all caps. it is all nonsense. he is just speaking to himself. >> but you have to define what you just said. what does after a while mean? i mean we're 18, 19 months into his presidency, and we continue to read these tweets on tv, giving them enormous exposure, enormous air time. how long is "after a while?" >> i don't know. >> you know, it may be, nick, after the democrats win big in the fall. i don't know. you know, the republicans, more republicans support donald trump now than they ever have, which means that more -- you know, 71% to 80% of republicans said they liked the side of donald trump cozying up to a kgb spy and appearing to be his dupe. 71% to 80% of republicans say they liked donald trump
basically doing the bidding of putin, undermining u.s. foreign policy for the past 50 years, and picking up what was soviet policy for 50 years. who knows? maybe that's the republican party or maybe it is just blind brand loyalty. either way, i don't think that drives people to the polls in november. >> well, joe, i'm not sure. i think that what's happened here is that political tribalism in the united states has overwhelmed the concept of a national interest separate from a political interest or a party's interest. it has taken over everything. just one fact check by the way. so president trump actually was warned. as soon as he became the nominee he was warned about potential russian efforts to penetrate his campaign. >> right. >> he appears to have ignored those warning. of course, this morning with the tweets on iran, it is the promo for season mine of "the
bachelor," you know, at the very end of season eight. he is kind of getting his timing wrong. i think, yeah, it is a classic effort to distract everybody. on the other hand, if you are iran you are probably feeling pretty good right now because the last time he threatened fire and fury to a country, the final step was a really nice sit-down in which the other country got the better of the deal. >> oh, yeah. i mean if you are iran right now and you're this morning looking at these tweets, everybody is high fiving. you're like, back the brinks truck up to the white house because he does this first before he gives away the bank, which is exactly what he did to north korea. they won't even meet with our secretary of state. they go out and start picking potatoes with potato farmers instead of meeting with pompeo when he goes over there because they -- trump gave them everything they wanted in the first meeting. >> still ahead on "morning joe", donald trump once listed carter page as a member of his foreign policy team.
the fbi listed carter page as collaborating and conspiring with russia. we'll get to michael schmidt's reporting just ahead. first, here is bill karins with a check on the forecast. bill. >> yeah, soggy, humid forecast, joe, if you are on the east coast, and it is hot everywhere else. already starting this morning with a lot of heavy rain throughout areas of virginia, norfolk, and some of the rain just passed through washington, d.c. a little bit of break for you, just light showers. going throughout the day, it is so humid at any point we could squeeze out a quick half inch to inch of rainfall with locally heavy downpours. flood watches for 24 million people including d.c., raleigh, and jacksonville. this area of pink is three-plus inches of rain from central new york all the way through the m mid atlantic region. that's on top of the five inches we picked up this weekend in
washington, d.c. how about the heat from texas through the southwest. we have 64 million people under heat advisories, warning or watches. dangerous heat from texas into the southwest. we get hotter in the west throughout the middle of the week. still dealing with heavy rain and flooding on the east coast. by end of the week, lingering showers but slow improvement. we are dangerously hot in the midwest, one of the hottest we have seen in areas like portland, oregon. keep the umbrella handy. you may need a rotation of umbrellas throughout the week. you are watching "morning joe." we will be right back. how can we say when you book direct at choicehotels.com you always get the lowest price on our rooms, guaranteed? let's say it in a really low voice. carl? lowest price, guaranteed. just stick with badda book. badda boom. book now at choicehotels.com
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lawsuit disclosed the october 2016 application to wire tap carter page, a trump campaign foreign policy adviser, along with several renewal applications after donald trump declassified their existence earlier this year. among its 400 pages, many of which are redacted, the application states, quote, the fbi believes page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the russian government. and, identifies page as a former foreign policy adviser to a candidate for president. it says, quote, the fbi believes the russian government's efforts are being coordinated with page and perhaps other individuals associated with that campaign. and it adds, the fbi believes that page has been collaborating and conspiring with the russian government. page called the claims ridiculous and so misleading. the application used the steele
dossier's claim that page spoke with senior russian officials about lifting sanctions related to russia's actions in ukraine, though the unredacted portion he shows it uses other materials as well. the application and renewals show all of the judges that signed off on the wire tapping were appointed by -- wait for it, wait for it, wait for it -- angry republican presidents. part of donald trump's 13 angry people in the investigation, you can -- four of the 13 you can actually put down as four republican judges. there's so much to go to here, but, first of all, just as a public service announcement to "morning joe" viewers, the 87 million people watching and listening on armed forces raid he yo across the world -- radioe world -- i'm making that up,
tell us how dramatic a change from precedent it was to have the fisa process made public and the grave risks that go along with that. then we will ask you more about the carter application, the carter page application. >> so i think the answer to the question how unusual it is that it is completely unprecedented. 20-plus years ago when i was a very young reporter for a legal newspaper, i did what i think is the first sort of major story about the foreign intelligence surveillance court, in the mid 1990s. at the time the justice department made a decision to cooperate with the story, as did the court by the way, and they -- you know, they all talked on the record and we had a lot of conversations about fisa. the one thing i asked for that they said no way, no how, you're never going to get, was the word processing template for a fisa
application. that is, not only were they not willing to give like a used application with everything redacted, they weren't even willing to let me see the -- the mock-up that they write off of that shows the structure of it, which is -- you know, if you take all of the material out, essentially what this is. in addition, this has the name of a target in it, which -- and it has a lot of the material that they used to support the application. so it is completely unprecedented. it is a huge change, and it reflects the degree to which the president has by talking about this process in a false fashion forced the release of information. and the way devin nunes has, by talking about this information falsely, forced the department to contemplate the release of truthful information that can
itself be very damaging. >> yeah. carol lee, what did we find out from the documents that were with released from the justice department? >> well, a number of things, including some of which you've read, which is that there was a very clear directive -- there was a very clear belief that carter page was conspiring with russia to -- in ways that were nefarious, and also that renewals of the fisa warrants suggest -- while that part is redacted and we don't know exactly what was learned, that led to renewals of the fisa warrant. they show -- the number of pages that the application was grew with each time, and so there was information that clearly they had learned in surveilling him that led to renewals. so i think the main question coming out of the -- when you look at what was released, is what was that. maybe we'll learn that in coming
months and maybe we won't, but there was very clearly -- you know, it kind of debunks what the president had said, that, you know, the republican memo that was released that exonerated him or showed that there was something -- that this was not done in a proper way, it is certainly another instance where that is debunked. it shows that there was a real cause for this. >> coming up on "morning joe", president trump is eyeing a summit with russia and a war with iran. we're going to bring in admiral james debrides and talk about where american foreign policy stands today. we'll be right back with more "morning joe." ♪
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when you combine ancestry's with its historical records... you could learn you're from ireland donegal, ireland and your ancestor was a fisherman. with blue eyes. just like you. begin your journey at ancestry.com california had the worst wildfire season on record. scientists say, our weather is becoming more extreme and we all have to be better prepared. that's why pg&e is adopting new and additional safety precautions to help us monitor and respond to dangerous weather. hi, i'm allison bagley, a meteorologist with pg&e's community wildfire safety program. we're working now, to enhance our weather forecasting capabilities, building a network of new weather stations to identify when and where extreme wildfire conditions may occur,
so we can respond faster and better. we're installing cutting edge technology to provide real-time mapping and tracking of weather patterns. and we use this information in partnership with first responders and california's emergency response systems. to learn more about the community wildfire safety program and how you can help keep your home and community safe, visit pge.com/wildfiresafety >> with us now we have former nato supreme allied commander, now chief international security and diplomacy analyst for nbc and msnbc, retired four star navy admiral james stavridis. he came back and went full trump. you should never do that but he
went full trump, promising fire and fury against iran. there you go. see it, all caps, full trump. never go full trump. i'm wondering what our allies -- again, i hate to keep repeating the question but things keep getting worse. he insult educated our nato allies. now he's suggesting war with iran, six months after he suggested war with north korea before giving north korea the summit that they had wanted for 40 years. what do you make of the president's latest threats of war? >> well, to put it in the movie context, joe, we need -- we really need less ""fast and furious"" and more "cool hand luke." he has to sets down. i think he mislearned from the north korea experience, as all of us do at times. he kind of did the whole fire and fury number on kim jong-un. he thinks that's what brought
kim jong-un to the bargaining table. i would argue there's a number of other factors, including china's role, that brought kim jong-un to the table. now we see kim jong-un was the village of negotiators. he's not going anywhere with the nukes. however, trump is going to queue up that technique, try and use it on iran. terrible time to do it because you absolutely have to have allies, partners and friends if you're going to go into another war in the middle east, god forbid. so this is probably the worst moment to use that style, and it is not going to get us anywhere. >> admiral, i wanted to pick up on what you are talking about in terms of allies, but looking at america's allies in the middle east. one of the ways folks could look at the president's rhetoric on iran right now is that, oh, you know, this is exactly what happened before he then sat down with north korea. but iran is different in the sense that america's allies in the region do not want the u.s. to sit down and talk to iran or engage iran diplomatically.
they have a very different view, unlike china and south korea had about north korea. so how does that impact the president's move forward in terms of whether he can dial this back and it leads to something other than some sort of military confrontation? >> no, you're absolutely right to raise that. it is sort of two legs of a partnership in the middle east, right. ness the sunni allies led by our close partners in riyadh, particularly crown prince bin salman, and, of course, israel, the democracy in the region and closest ally partner and friend. interestingly, those two are kind of moving close together, but neither of them is looking for a war with iran. i think that we're -- we need to really watch this in two dimensions. one is saudi and israeli cooperation in intelligence, in missile defense, in cyber. secondly, it is the arabian gulf. it is that body of water in
between saudi arabia and iran that is going to be the potential flash point, because here's the punch line and here is what drove that tweet. the iranians are talking about closing that waterway and choking off oil if they are sanctioned. if they do that -- and they've done it before, they did it in the '80s, they did it in the '90s, if they do that can you spell gas prices rising and disruption in the oil markets? that's what is causing this visceral reaction from president trump, and it is a very dangerous game of chicken to be playing. >> coming up, michael cohen recorded conversations with donald trump, and investigators are listening to every word. we're going to break it down with "vanity fair" reporter jane fox and reverend al sharpton who spoke with cohen over the weekend. "morning joe", back in a minute. so, dave here
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>> he said, i want you to know, rev, i am not going to be the sacrificial lamb here. i'm going to do what is right for my family and i'm going to do what is right for my country. he felt -- he seemed to feel like he was out by himself, that the president had not stood by him. he would say things like, i have been loyal, but loyalty has not been given to me. >> well, obviously that was the host of msnbc's "politics nation" and president of the national action network, reverend al sharpton speaking on friday about his meeting with michael cohen. and miracle of miracles, reverend sharpton joins us along with senior reporter at "vanity fair", msnbc contributor emily jane fox. we have two michael cohen confidantes here. tell us about your meeting. >> i don't know if i'm a
confidante. >> tell us about it. >> i have known michael cohen about 20 years in dealing with donald trump, mostly cohen would be the one that would reach out when we would march on him or protest on him for whatever we disagreed with and try to get everybody in the room to meet. then when trump would act like he was being a democrat liberal, he would come to national action network functions and negotiate that he so we knew each other. i bumped into him a month ago and spoke to him, and then i got a text from him saying, let's get together and talk. so we had breakfast at the regency on friday, and he was very much wanting to say to me that he wanted me to know that he was going to do what was right for the country and right for his family. he seemed very concerned about how he was being depicted as some horrific guy and that he really was doing what he was supposed to do as a lawyer to his client, but that he was not
going to be one that is going to be something negative to the country and that he's going to stand up. i think that from all i saw, he's going to do what he thinks is the right thing. you would have to find out what that is. >> who paid for breakfast? >> i think he did. >> right? >> i didn't, let me just -- since we're dealing in the legal world of nixon there, i didn't pay for breakfast. i do not know, sir, who paid. >> do you think he is scared? which would be a sensible feeling. >> i think he's somewhere between hurt and a feeling of betrayal. i don't know that he's scared. i think that he seemed more hurt and betrayed. again, he didn't use those terms. this is the sense that i got. >> emily, i want to ask you this question. friday, obviously when the news broke and is often the kcase whn news breaks around michael cohen you were on television. i believe i heard you say that michael cohen did not put out
this news that he has the tape, right? and the suggestion is that the trump side put it out. i trust your reporting, but i'm curious as to what the motive of the trump side would be in putting out the word that this tape existed. >> well, i will say that people around michael cohen said they did not put out the tape. it was protected by attorney/client privilege. as they said on friday, the special master in this case had deemed it privileged, so this tame wou tape would never have seen the light of day. the only person that could waive the privilege is donald trump, and mayor guilliani confirmed to me that he waived that right. that is something that he and his legal team did on friday. the motivation of people in cohen's world think is that they believe it is a way to undercut his ability to cooperate because this tape was never going to see the light of day. perhaps this would have been leverage michael could have used going forward if he wanted to cooperate with the government, and now that is a card that is
taken out of his deck. >> yeah. reverend al, joe here. you know, you knew donald trump like we knew donald trump. we know him for a decade or so before he started running for office. you knew him even longer than that. you knew the characters that were always surrounding trump. are you surprised that the guy that was supposed to be his fixer, the guy that was supposed to be one of the most loyal to him was secretly recording his conversations or was that just part of the culture around trump that he showed no loyalty to anybody else and nobody showed loyalty back to him? >> you know, it is funny, joe. when i first heard about the tape, which is about an hour after i left cohen, i laughed to myself because it was always rumored that trump recorded everybody. we were always told when you go in a meeting with trump be careful because he may be recording the meeting in his
office. so i don't know that everybody didn't record each other, pro ekt thipro pro-tecting each other from everybody. because i heard that trump was not above recording meetings and conversations it so i don't know under what context cohen may have been recording him. i know it is unprecedented for a lawyer to be recording his client, but if you're in that kind of culture maybe it is not that unusual to them. i don't know. >> emily, i have a question for you. so i know what the president's motives here could be, right, for how he is handling it, how his lawyers are handling this. what i don't understand are cohen's motives and what his game is here. why is he going on this little tour, having breakfast with our colleague here? what is he trying to accomplish? what's his end game, do you think? >> so he has been hamstrung for about a year, certainly since the fbi searched his apartment, home and office. he has not been able to talk.
so having the ability to talk through people who have a platform i think is something that is very appealing to him. i think that what we're seeing now, especially with the hiring of lanny davis to his legal team, is we're watching him trying to change the narrative that's been painted around him for the past year and a half. he wants to be seen as someone who is credible so that if he does perhaps start to cooperate that the government will believe what he has to say. >> i also think, nick, you have to look at the selection he has chosen. george stephanopoulos, who used to be a big democratic strategist, sharpton, a civil rights guy, so he is also sending a message to trump and the prosecutors. >> and a not-so-subtle message, too. >> he could have went to a lot of people. >> stephanopoulos, lanny davis,
sharpton, and tom arnold who he takes a picture with. he's not a master of subtlety. >> he also is impulsive. he sees tom arnold and he thought it would get attention quickly. the next day you saw both walking it back the next day. there's a rush to change the narrative because he doesn't want to be in the situation anymore. he wants it to be over. >> he will be having a drink with elizabeth warren i'm sure. >> if elizabeth warren were in the regency, i'm not shir he would walk the other direction. if an opportunity presents itself, he will take it. >> you know, that is also something about him too, that sometimes he's not just sending a message. you know, i think i called him a thug over twitter. he had threatened to sue me and i shot back and, you know, the
next time i saw him at the regency he just came up, shook my hand. we had a really polite conversation. you know, he said, let's have a drink sometime. i go, sounds great and that was that. i mean everybody -- chances are very good, he saw tom arnold, he goes, hey, tom arnold, how you doing? i'm good. they took a picture, that's that. so sometimes you can overread it. one thing you can't overread though, john, is the "national enquirer's" role in all of this. the "enquirer," was well-known that the "enquirer" would often buy stories and kill them. and obviously they came within target of investigators because of donald trump and pay-offs and michael cohen. what's their role here with mcdougal? are they in the clear now that
they're going to allow her to tell her story and publish, you know, five tips by karen mcdougal for better living or whatever they're going to do? >> i mean i don't know about in the clear. i'm not sure that anything that the "enquirer" did was illegal, joe. look, catch and kill, this concept is not exclusive to the "enquirer." if you live in the world of celebrity gossip, in publications of lesser repute of the "national enquirer" and of more repute than "the national enquirer", it is something that people do. it is unseemly and unseedy. usually it doesn't involve though the future president of the united states. what i think has happened for one thing, whether they're in the clear or some way or not is not clear. they will be the subject of controversy, and one of the things that certainly happened is to the extent that the "national enquirer" had been building weirdly a reputation with the john edwards' story and other stories of being a place that sometimes broke news and covered politics in a serious way, they've revealed themselves
like some other people over the last 18 months to be fully in the tank for donald trump. that's something that's going to taint their reputation for a long time. emily, i want to ask you though whether you think there is -- how is this going to play out now? joe jokingly talked about what is going to happen with karen mcdougal's story. what is going to happen? what's the next thing you want to look at in the relationship between trump, pecker, cohen and where the story might lead if it involves potentially other women? >> here is the thing. there is a possibility that may not be too far away where michael cohen can reveal what that relationship was like. michael cohen can reveal the specific, exact details, and that will benefit him for that to be out there. so we may find out all of this much sooner than we all think and in much greater detail than we could imagine. >> all right. hey, reverend al, let me ask you one final question. talking about this state of the democratic party, the health of the democratic party going into the fall.
what's that looking like? are you seeing anybody emerge that could challenge donald trump as the voice of the opposition? >> well, you know, thursday the dnc had an african-american leadership summit in atlanta that i went to and spoke at. i think they're trying to get their message to really become something that everyone adopts and that captures the imagination of people. you can't run against someone without someone. you can't count on message if you don't have one. i think that's what they're grappling with. you cannot just depend on an anti-trump kind of fervor to be the beneficiary of -- or benefit rather your candidates. i think that's what they're grappling with. what is our message? we know a lot of americans don't like trump. in fact, more voted against him in the popular vote than for him, but how do we bring them behind our candidates on the
congressional and senate and gubernatorial levels? i think if they do that and get on the ground, they have a chance. but they can blow it and they need to know that they can blow it, because if they come through with another message on the other side, then people rally around something as much as they rally against something. there's a rallying against trump, but you have to make sure that it comes in your direction. otherwise you could blow it. >> all right. reverend al sharpton, thank you so much. emily jane fox, thank you as well. her book, "born trump," out now. coming up next, conservative radio host charlie sykes who once ex plaund hplained how the lost its mind. now he's out for some republicans who oppose the president. quote, don't just tweet about it. do something. charlie's going to join us next to explain what they can do when "morning joe" returns. rushed into booking one.
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were locked and he couldn't get it off of all caps. so he was righting in all caps this week end. what was the state of mind when you spoke with him? >> amazing. like i mentioned on twitter, i mentioned to you, joe, last night i'm watching netflix, the last episode of "narcos," and it was unknown when the phone rang. i usually don't answered, but i answered. he said, hey, eric, it is your favorite president. we talked about the thing you have been talking about all morning long. we talked about russia. i talked to him about the fcc and some things going on there. i believe it came up unknown because he was on air force one going back to d.c. i will tell you, he was fine. he was in a good place. again, this tweet that came out later with the all caps, think about this for one second. so he's being blamed by a lot of people, you know, i listened to
president, does he believe the cia and gina haspel? does he believe dan coats and the director of national intelligence? >> well, you know, so the conversations aren't specifically point towards individuals. but, i mean, he'll tell you he believes whatever meddling russia has been doing, it's been going on a heck of a long time, joe, and it wasn't unique to 2016. it's been going on forever. >> the question though is eric, and, again, because he goes back and forth -- by the way, i've always said that james comey had a hell of a lot more impact on the election than putin, but that doesn't mean that all of our intel communities haven't said that russia tried to meddle in and influence the election. so if the president didn't tell you that specifically, let me ask you what do you believe? do you believe the cia and the director of national intelligence that putin tried toed me until our elections? >> of course, and putin's tried
to meddle in -- and every other russian leading going back to the cold war. i honestly believe he, donald trump, was treated poorly when he became president trump by the fbi. this peter strzok stuff, look, it is massive, when you have hillary clinton, the person, being investigated, and also donald trump the campaign being investigated by the same people. and there's so much bias going back and forth between the two. where one is actually -- >> what's incredible is actually that there was only one investigation going on at the time that people went out and voted and that was against people around donald trump and yet the fbi didn't tell anybody that. again -- charlie -- >> you have to take a look back for one second. an nbc poll came out over the weekend showing donald trump at his highest approval rating in
his whole presidency. whatever the issues surrounding putin and russia are, the american people generally are less concerned about it then they are the economy or our safety. >> well, actually, charlie, so that's a very good segue. the fact is, with the polling, "washington post"/abc news poll that came out showed that only one in three americans were comfortable with what trump did with putin. only 29% support him attacking our intel communities. that said, among republicans, among my former party, and i don't know if you're still a republican, an overwhelming amount of republicans don't mind donald trump taking the kgb's line on nato. >> yes, it's certainly an indication of how tribal our politics have become, whatever the polls say. the reality is, is what we saw last week poses a real danger to the world order. there -- our allies no longer rely on us. our enemies i don't think
necessarily fear us. there's a lot of rationalization that is going on. republicans i think in private understand how serious this is. how unhinged a lot of this behavior is. but they're not willing to say it in public. they're not willing to say, hey, it's donald trump, there's nothing to worry about. if donald trump continues on this path, there is a very, very real danger. and, you know, it is so weird watching how america first has morphed into blame america first. you know, how the strongman, you know, turns out to be incredibly weak when he's confronted by a bigger bully. you know, and that's why i think at some point, look members of congress are going to have to realize they're not just potted plants. the senators are incredibly powerful. no senator ever became great by being a lap dog. they're not simply ciphers. and there are things they could
actually do to reassert their constitutional authority. without derailing the republican agenda. without derailing the conservative agenda. and it's sort of time for members of the senate to look around and say, you know, we're an important body here, you know, the congress of the united states is a coequal branch of government. we don't have to take, you know, our cue from fox news hosts. we don't have to cower and be afraid of the president's tweets. >> and do what, charlie, and change what? okay, so the senate steps up -- >> a lot of things -- >> okay, so what, what would charlie have the senate body do differently right now and why? i mean, things are -- the economy's popping. i haven't heard anyone mention isis other than a comedy skit in the better part of a year or year and a half. i remember two years ago, journalists heads being beheaded. >> you want to hear the answer? >> yes, sure. >> number one, bare minimum,
they can pass a resolution reaffirming support for our intelligence agencies and making it clear russia will be held accountable -- >> charlie, that's been going on for decades -- >> you want my answer -- >> -- what a waste of time -- >> -- censure for his behavior with vladimir putin. they ka pass a resolution that would trigger sanctions if the russians continue to attack our election process -- >> there are already -- >> do you want to hear my answer? you asked me a question. they actually could pass lenls ligs that would protect mueller from being fired. they could, in fact, you know, put some -- by the way, the senate foreign relations committee can hold hearings into our relationship with nato. they could hold hearings into the threats that are being posed. you know, but on a tangible basis, the congress could also go back and say, all right, you know, post watergate, members of congress were able to pass very sweeping public integrity and ethics legislation making it clear that no one in this country is above the rule of
law. there are a lot of things that can be done. the history of the american congress is rich with examples of members of congress being willing to push back on the executive and i think people ought to take a page from that. >> all right, that was quite an answer. i agree, you'd want to have a response. we're up against the end of the show, but let's get you back tomorrow. love to continue it tomorrow. one thing charlie, eric a degree wi agrees with you on, people don't need to get their news from fox news anymore. they can get it from eric. >> crtv.com/eric. it's digital, it's there all the time, live, 5:00, a few days a week. >> look at that, bringing people together, the united, not divider. thanks for watching, folks. wet