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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  August 31, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT

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welcome to "morning joe" on the final day of august. where did the summer go? it went so fast. joe has one more morning off but willie the back and willie, great to see you. >> great to see you. >> but i have a question. >> yes? >> i'm trying to get joe to relax. i've been doing mindfulness, animal therapy. but donald trump said something yesterday that quite possibly could be the worst thing he could do to get joe to relax. yeah. insulted the university of alabama. >> i saw that. >> i'm talking about the nugget in politico's report that the president is personally lobbying senators to turn on his attorney general, jeff sessions. he reportedly gripes to aides and lawmakers that sessions doesn't have an ivy league education. he says he can't stand session' southern accent and the president also reportedly, willie, told aides he doesn't think sessions is capable of defending him well on tv, in part because according to president trump, sessions talks
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like he has marbles in his mouth. i got to tell you, that disparaging of alabama didn't sit well with joe, and he went on twitter. look at this. i mean -- what's he supposed to do, willie? >> here it is is. joe writes i know hundreds of university of alabama graduates, a hell of a lot smarter than you, talking about donald trump. 234 income randomly select 100 from the phone book who could out debate you on the subject of your choice. rsh pr #rolltide. >> i'll have him doing animal therapy today. pig therapy. >> my mom loves having her up in maine. have her next summer. i did good-bye videos and having information where she's going and why temporarily. i know you're all dieing to hear it.
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with us we have white house reporter for the associated press jonathan lemire. republican strategist and msnbc analyst susan del percio. associate editor for the "washington post" and msnbc political analyst eugene robinson and nbc news capitol hill correspondent and host of "kasie dc" on msnbc, the great, the powerful, the very well connected kasie hunt good to have you all on the show this morning. so frame the morning. it's the last day of the summer. the new reports yesterday, of course, pressure mounting all around the president. people shocked at just how much pressure this president is under. the russia probe, the midterm elections, his legal team in limbo and now after hastening the exit of his top white house lawyer in a tweet, there is new reporting that donald trump is shockingly, woefully, ill-prepared for the
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constitutional crisis engulfing his presidency. it is crisis that could very well lead him down the panel to impeachment. many say it absolutely will. and despite all of that, or perhaps because of all of that, he's picking fights every day. new ones. often on twitter. often with zero facts. ludicrous. american companies, departments of government, the post office, a u.s. war hero, and now these institutions, these elected officials, these foreign allies are forced to fact check the leader of the free world. this is where we are at. president trump accuses google of repressing him. google says it's not true. he accuses south africa of all but condoning violence against white farmers. south africa says he's misinformed. he says trade is costing american jobs. a republican senator says, simply wrong. he says the attorney general never took control of the justice department. jeff sessions says he did from day one.
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can this distraction campaign be new for white house insiders? whoever is left? donald trump seems to be woefully ill equipped for the looming constitutional crisis that could end his presidency, and, of course, none of his staff, whoever is left, seem to have the guts to tell him. willie, the "washington post" ashley park hear a strong piece this morning getting into this portrait of a president flailing at straw men. take us through it. >> all this split screen, good-bye to a senator hero lies in state today at the capitol's rotun rotunda. depicting a president and supporters from reality in the "washington post." ashley park writes over roughly the past day president trump decried the totally dishonest media with fake news and fake books, he says, argued google is biased against conservatives, accused msnbc of fudging the
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tape of an interview with him veil online for more than a year. the president even declared there is no chaos in his white house, he claimed is a smooth-running machine with changing parts, despite the tulle malt th tumult that emanates daily. and clear evidence, nine weeks before the midterm elections that could help determine his fate and bound by one unifying theme. all of his perceived opponents peddling false facts and only trump can be trusted. the frenzied pace of trump's tweeting specifically warning against fake books is viewed by some as a reaction to bob woodward's upcoming release "fear: trump in the white house." last night in indiana the president's mind preoccupied by coverage of his west virginia rally ten days ago. >> last week you saw it i was in the great state of west virginia. we were in a fantastic arena,
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beautiful, smaller than this, but a very great place. we had crowds that were incredible. >> a writer for the in t"new yo times" that pretends she knows what she's talking about hasn't got clue. i'm telling you. the enthusiasm was the same. the place was packed. she made the statement that president trump was disappointed to see some empty chairs. yeah. they were going to the bathroom, maybe. >> so, jonathan lemire, you and i joked before we came on the air i was on vacation, took twitter off my phone. not a lot changed. just a different time and venue for the president going after perceived enemies, the slights against him and all of this again, as i say, as the nation's paying tribute to a man that he holds in disdain, frankly, john mccain. >> welcome back.
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yes. we saw it last night. the president made no mention 6 john mccain as much of the nation is focused on paying tribute to a war hero, a decorated senator, someone who gave his whole life mostly for his country, donald trump perpetuated a torrance of grievances against him. you may have missed, issue with the flag at the white house. >> i saw, yes. >> and not at half-staff unlike the rest of the nation's government. raised a day and after uproar put back to where it appropriately should be. last night was illustrative where the president's mind is. cannot let any perceived slight go. the west virginia rally the week before, yes, a pretty good crowd, but there were empty seat without the usual enthusiasm a trump rally usually does. indiana's rally did. sort of the greatest hits of the trump experience, including his attacks at the media, at institutions, as the fbi, the department of justice and for
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many people i think, take away from last night him again suggesting he may need to intervene with the ongoing russia probe with the workings of the department of justice because he feels its biased against him rnts and some people in the white house former officials are worried they're not prepared for what's coming down the road. mika? >> susan del percio i want your take on this. a big one. seeing significant institutions and people pushing back at some of these unsubstantiated claims by the president. i mention add few ed a few at t. hard to believe, but let's go through more. donald trump says in a tweet seemingly based on a fox news segment china hacked hillary clinton's private e-mail server. an fbi official tells nbc news they have found no evidence clinton's e-mail was compromised. trump accuses google of not promoting his state of the union address like when president
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obama was in office. google fired back in a statement given to buzzfeed saying they did promote trump's 2017 state of the union but not his first address to congress. something they also did not do for obama in 2009. the president initially would not budge in keeping the flag at the white house at half-staff in honor of john mccain? he only reportedly gave him after a stern public statement from the american legion. last week trump tweeted about having the state department look into the large-scale killing and seizure of land from white farmers. another tweet inspired by a fox news segment. the south african government responded saying trump was wrong. trump tweeted the other day that we lose jobs s and over $800 billion a year in bad trade deals and the same countries tariff us to death. republican senator ben sasse responded, this is simply wrong.
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and last week after the president said that attorney general jeff sessions never took control of the justice department and it's a sort of incredible thing, sessions issues a rare public response to the president, which read in part, i took control of the department of justice the day i was sworn in, while i am attorney general, the actions of the department of justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. wow. susan, i ask you, is it good news that we're seeing this pushback or bad news that -- where i would probably weigh in -- it has to happen in the first place? >> it is good news there is pushback and i think we'll seal a lseal -- see a lot more of it. bad news that it has to happen, to your point, this week was particularly unraveling for donald trump starting on sunday morning when he started to see the coverage on fox about the passing of senator john mccain, and we just saw him spin out after that.
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the tributes to john, and, you know, we know that the president projects. so we saw a lot of the lack of president trump's -- we saw deferments compared to senator mccain's service. i think it was just -- donald trump knew in that moment he would never receive those accolades from the american public. >> never. >> from the military. from everybody in a bipartisan way, and he will never go down as being one -- 1/10 of 1% of what john mccain was and how he served his country, and i think that made these things just roll out and have him just frankly go completely unhinged. >> know, gene robinson, even by the trump standard it is still jarring to see a president of the united states not able to overcome his own gripes with john mccain over the years going back to, if we want to go back further but in the campaign when
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he talked about john mccain not being a war hero. even in death, to not be able to get over your petty grievances with john mccain is actually sad to watch. >> yes. it is sad and it is weird. you have to -- with trump you always -- it's always particle calculation, part crazy. right? you have to take into account both his calculation and his craziness. he likes to dominate every news cycle. he wakes up every morning, i think, determined to win that day. that episode of this really weird entire reality show he's running. so all of this -- that's a partial kind of rational, i guess, motive, but it overlaid -- overlaid all of his neurosis and insecurities about himself, about his performance, about his deferments that he got
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because of his bone spurs, and whether that makes him less of a man, about his small hands, probably whatever, and so you see that, too. so you can't tease apart the calculation from the kaecrazy. an extraordinary week. step back and just look at what we have heard from this president just over the past week. you would never believe you would hear such things from the head of state of, you know -- >> really. >> -- of the most obscure banana republic, let alone the president of the united states. >> hmm. >> gene, you're so right. just wouldn't expect it. jonathan lemire, talk about your reporting, bring it to the table. you say trump allies are fretting over the west wing vacancies as threats loom. talk about the threats? >> a few things going on, mika.
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certainly don mcgahn's imminent departure announced with dispute whether he's leaving or president trump fired him is emblematic what's going on in the white house. they have lost, struggled from the beginning to recruit top-flight talent into the building and we've seen a steady stream of departures with few big names replacing them and the legal team in particular has had, shall we say challenges. rudy giuliani is far more of a public spokesman, tv personality than a lawyer. certainly in the building. flood is someone who people around the president have respect for, think they is a top-flight lawyer but there is very little with him, and a lot coming. not only is it going to be whatever mueller brings to the table when he issues his report. if the democrats flip the house this fall, which, of course, a lot of people including trump allies expect and fear, not only will you have impeachment talk but according to our reporting, a lot of people in the white
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house are terrified even if democrats stay away from impeachment, they're going to control the committees and investigation after investigation after investigation where they're going to haul people up from the trump world to testify about not just russia but about corruption, about emaulments, about the day to day workings of this government that basically anybody who's ever said the name "do "donald j. trump" will have to testify. they're ill-prepared for what's coming. >> all speaking today as a ceremony to honor john mccain. what are they thinking as they watch the week unfold? as they watch the president launch out against his enemies, his perceived enemies? john mccain is so revered in the halls of that senate. >> he s. what are they thinking as they watch the president's treatment of this week. you know, willie, thinking
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back on this, because i actually was in arizona for most of this week, and as you've sat here and recited what's been going on in washington and the times i was gone i realized that i was much more caught up and the people i wass talking to on the ground in arizona were much more caught up in what was going on with senator mccain, and my sense is that's a reflection of a broader mood in the country over the course of the past week and helps explain the president's behavior. i mean, how many times has he been knocked out of the headlines? you know? and in this incredibly powerful and graceful end to an incredible american life, john mccain has kind of taken the country's narrative for himself. planning his own funeral. still going to see -- haven't heard the eulogies from president obama and president bush that he planned for himself. haven't yet seen tributes from his republican colleagues. the reality, not everybody in
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washington liked john mccain. certainly even people who loved him didn't like him every day. the kind of guy that he was, but at the end of the day, he represented something that was great about this country and i think everyone has been so focused on honoring that, and i think it feels as well like a little bit of a relief to be able to remember that, you know, this is what makes america great. it's people like john mccain and i think that is very much the sentiment you'll see on display at the capitol today. >> well, and his greatness and his looming legacy. john mccain in death is showing just how small donald trump is in life. and we'll have much more on john mccain coming up. still ahead on "morning joe" the president's former national security adviser is speaking out. not the one guilty of lying to the fbi but the one fired for not marching lock step with the president's positions. what h.r. mcmaster is now saying about donald trump's summit with
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vladimir putin. but first, bill karins with a check on the forecast. bill? >> good morning to you, mika. labor day weekend is kind of a mix. some areas that aren't going to be the best. others areas do a lot better. get into it. rain in southern portions of new jersey and hit and miss storms in pennsylvania. a change. temperatures dropped significantly. added more moisture to the air. later this afternoon, any airport threats with delays or cancellations waup out minneapolis, rochester, sue falls sioux city, areas around the quad city. chicago do be okay today. saturday, a chance for thunderstorms there. the rest of the forecast. only 75 today in new york after being in the 90s last couple days. 72, boston. noticeably cooler. south east deals with storms too. getaway day is not horrible for airports. big ones will be fine. into saturday, watch the storms increasing in chicago. fine in dallas to san antonio, houston down along the gulf coast numerous thunderstorms scattered in the mid-atlantic.
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not a bad beach day on sunday through the mid-atlantic and afternoon storms but the morning into early afternoon should be dry and temperatures warmer in the 80s. unfortunately the midwest not good for you. numerous days with a chance for rain and that, of course, leads to flash flooding rick by the time we get to labor day. day after day of rain in this area and actually a pretty nice labor day here on areas of the east coast. temperatures warm up significantly very much feeling like summer as we go throughout our labor day, september day there in new york all right through the mid-atlantic region. washington, d.c., an area, a chance of a stray shower or storm over the next two days but brief. temperatures much cooler today. enjoy it while it lasts. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. (vo) when bandits stole the lockbox from the wells fargo stagecoach, agent beekman was one step ahead of them. because he hid his customers' gold in a different box. and the bandits, well, they got rocks. we protected your money then and we're dedicated to helping
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officials say 68-year-old robert chain made more than a dozen threatening phone calls to the paper starting august 10th. the same day "the globe" urged newspapers nationwide to public editorials supporting the free press. in several of his calls the fbi said he referred to the paper as "enemy of the people." it's a phrase the president has repeatedly used against the press including his twitter tirade yesterday. and note that he makes no distinction in this tweet between the media as a whole and fake news. as he has claimed to make in the past. officials say the man threatened to "kill every f-ing one of you" talking about the "globe" employees and add, why don't you call mueller. maybe he can help you out. officials found 20 guns in his home. he appeared in court yesterday and freed on $50,000 bond. the judge ordered him to stay away from guns and away from
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"the globe." here's what he said after his court appearance. >> i'm making a statement. the united states got saved by having donald j. trump elected as president. >> now get out of our way. >> now take a hike, you bozos. >> i think we should take him puff ap i don't want to see anymore of that. gene robinson, what's your take? >> well -- >> whoa. >> there you saw it. >> wow. yeah. >> first of all, the guy has 20 guns, and it's -- it could not be clearer where he got the inspiration for all of this from. he uses that stalinist phrase, enemy of the people. the phrase that president trump has used, and when he started using it people began warning that something like this, that something worse than this would happen. >> uh-huh. >> and -- and, you know who can doubt that we're headed in that direction? i mean, it's -- it's just -- extraordinary that the president
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of the united states would -- >> horrific. >> would have inspired this and continues to inspire others who might have this center of warped sense of reality and grievance and anger that the president stokes. what a disgusting, disgraceful role for a president to play, and how fortunate that they got this guy. i hope they get those 20 guns out of his house, too. >> thank god. >> and i hope that, you know, authorities and news organizations are vigilant against the others who i'm sure are out there. i mean, somebody's going to get hurt. i've said it before, and i still sadly believe somebody's going to get hurt. >> a matter of hours between the tweet the president had, the enemy of the people, and this
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man's arrest in encino, california. this guy lives in encino threatening "boston globe" employees. hope he was just running his mouth. as gene suggests, there will come a day, we know it and talk about it the next person won't be just running his or her mouth but this will come to violence. >> the person constantly running his mouth is the president of the united states doing absolutely nothing to try and tajher this down. we shouldn't be surprised this is someone willing to pay for legal fees to his supporters who punched out protesters. not shocked from this behavior from the president, but i'm on the other side a lot of times with reporters. i'm the flak. the one who goes back and forth, and i've never seen this kind of dis -- beyond disrespect between the communications side especially from a president's team, and the press and then to have the president just pile on top of that is just disgraceful and really sad, and don't think for a moment it is not part of
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tearing down one of the basic pillars of our society. >> you know, there was a -- there was a photograph from the rally, i believe the rally last night, of a trump staffer blocking the camera lens of one of the photographers, news photographers who was there, to try to keep the photographer from taking a picture of a protester who was around. i mean -- there's the picture. this is -- unacceptable. this is extraordinary, this is unacceptable. this is the way -- you know, i've -- i wrote a book about cuba. i've been to -- i covered chile under pinochet and have seen how authoritarian regimes treat the media, control the media, until ultimately they are the only source of information. no american wants to live in that, in a society like that.
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>> no. >> no american wants to live in a society like that. donald trump wants to head us in that direction. >> and this is how it happens, yes. still ahead is bob mueller going to make an announcement today? axios's mike allen think it's a possibility. he'll be with us next to explain. next to explain. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. that's it? everybody two seconds! "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job.
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see what i did there?
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on the eve of the trump legal team's september 1st deadline for the special counsel to end its probe the president says the whole thing is against the law. trump told "bloomberg news," "i view it differently. i view it as an illegal investigation, because great scholars have said that there nefb sho never should have been a special counsel." asked whether he would comply with a subpoena to mueller to answer questions, trump said in the interview, i'll see what happens. in his rally in evansville, indiana, last night the president invoked his 2016 rival hillary clinton and the audiewe chanted to "lock her up" just before he said this. >> our justice department and our fbi have to start doing
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their job and doing it right and doing it now. because people are angry. people are angry. what's happening is a disgrace. and at some point, i wanted to stay out, but at some point if it doesn't straighten out properly, i want them to do their job. i will get involved, and i'll get in there, if i have to. >> disgraceful. >> the president threatening last night to "get involved." joining us another great scholar co-founder of axios, mike allen. good morning. go for t. willie, happy friday and thank you for an epic summer. >> there it is. >> all right. mike, get into what your reporting, axios looking at speculation whether bob mueller may make an announcement today. what might it be and why is there that speculation right now? >> willie, we saw chuck say, chuck todd say last night on msnbc he'll be coming to work today and i can tell you so will the president's legal team.
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hot speculation among the president's lawyers that today might be a day of action for robert mueller. it's the justice department's policy, don't have action in a criminal probe in a hot election season. i think every federal prosecutor knows that except james comey, who forgot that, and that's all the more reason that lawyers think that robert mueller may go quiet after labor day. so this would be the last working day before labor day. could this be the day for a wikileaks indictment? could he decide that that's going to be the last action before the election? people who know bob mueller well say he's unlikely to make a big announcement. that what could happen is after any action today, he'll just go quiet until after the election. >> kasie? >> hey, mike. forgive me if this is too far off your reporting pope k inrep.
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occurs to me, john mccain is about to be laid to rest and bob mueller served himself in vietnam. will that play into this his thg at all. >> kasie, very astute. robert mueller, having served, very wired into washington, and i agree with you. he might well be sensitive to that. it's just another reason i have news for rudy, that that september 1st deadline is not going to be met. remember when the deadline was last thanksgiving for this investigation? the lawyers who touch and feel it are involved every day see no sense that this is eminent. they think this is going a while. >> mike, jonathan lemire. two quick questions. one, roger stone, someone linked to wikileaks, publicly said he anticipates an indictment or
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arrest in the coming days. i wanted to ask if that's the speculation you're hearing and secondly, what sort of response do you think we'll hear from the trump legal team? whether mueller does anything today or not. as the calendar turns into next week and that september deadline passes what should we anticipate hearing tr th ining from them? >> jonathan, we can expect they'll seize on anytime to say that is another reason that the investigation should be discredited. jonathan, your own reporting on the new york end of this has shown that for a witch-hunt, a lot of witches are turning up, and it's harder for the president's team to make that argument, but i can tell you on the campaign trail, especially if there's a mueller investigation continuing through the midterms, one of the biggest topic. we talk about media, migration, mueller and ms-13 as the stars of the president's midterm
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campaign rallies. >> mike, if mueller does go silent today and stays quiet, and follows the so-called rule of not putting anyone under indictment or raising an investigation under the -- you can continue an investigation but not indict anyone until election day, what happens when the president's team, as rudy giuliani said is just weeks away from unleashing his own report? and brings it up? does that give an out to mueller to actually start taking action, if he wants to? if the president is talking about this investigation? >> i can tell you that robert mueller based on people who know him well and as your viewers know, there aren't leaks out of mueller. they come from elsewhere. this is all reading of the tea leaves, but people who have worked with muellleller tell me doesn't need an opening or a reason. what he does won't be based on taunts from the other side or
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anything else from the other side. if one word comes up again and again when you talk to people who have worked with mueller and interacted with his team on this investigation, they say it is methodical. why a piece is up on axios right now inside mueller's secret files. a look at everything that mueller has collected that we haven't yet seen. and this includes more than a million pages of e-mails and other documents out of the white house and the trump campaign, memos i'm told out of the white house of conversations with the president, and so there's a lot more to come, including -- and jonathan was right in his question, that there is speculation about roger stone and wikileaks. the two topics mentioned to me by lawyers close to this investigation when they talked about what might happen today. >> wow. okay. mike allen, thank you. and coming up -- >> happy labor day. >> thank you! oh, that's right. he has to say happy friday.
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"bloomberg's" jennifer jacobs about her wide-ranges interview with president trump. he talked about the mueller probe but also jeff sessions and reacted to the death of john mccain. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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among those who attended the ceremony for senator john mccain yesterday was former national security advisers under president trump, h.r. mcmaster. in his very first interview since leaving his role at the white house nbc's andrea mitchell asked the retired army officer about mccain's stance on the president's performance at the helsinki summit last month, and here's what he had to say. >> after the helsinki summit, when he calmled the president's one of the most disgraceful performances because he viewed being much too accommodating to vladimir putin. how did that strike you? >> what putin has been able to do is, he has been able to
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really operate in a way largely uncontested across the free world. not just in the united states, but in like-minded countries. so it's time to listen to john mccain and to confront this kind of sustained campaign of propaganda, disinformation and political subversion. >> wow. eugene robinson, a sustained campaign of propaganda, that is someone who worked on the inside, characterizing this president's approach. your take? >> yeah. right. a sustained campaign of propaganda in which president trump is at least complicit and certain taken in by putin's propaganda. you know, it is, on the one hand, it's kind of heartening that h.r. mcmaster was there for so long and saw what was going on. he's a reasonable guy. in the end, you know, he couldn't stick around.
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with the insanity going on with donald trump. and -- >> well, my gut is, gene, my gut is, gene that he told the president the truth. >> uh-huh. yeah, right, i think we know the pattern here. >> telling the president the truth is not a way to keep your job. basically. and that's one reason why so few people actually tell him the truth and, incom fact they communicate with the president through us. through the media very often. the story you referenced a while ago about ashley parker's piece, "washington post" piece about the unreadiness in the white house for what could be coming with possible impeachment proceedings or whatever and how they're not ready for it, and that's probably something they couldn't tell donald trump to his face, but insiders are getting the message to him through the media. it's a very, very weird,
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dysfunctional situation over there at the white house. in the presidency of the united states, the most important job in the world. >> and willie geist in a real, like, normal world, where normal thinking would take place, you would think donald trump would be just a tad bit concerned. i mean, look at who's left. asked this to robert costa. who's left on his inner circle? he said sarah sanders, kellyanne conway. john kelly, who he hates. digenova and rudy giuliani, run away beer truck. that's his, like, inner cadre of helpers helping him get through this. someone should be very afraid. >> well, yeah, and think about general mcmaster, one of the many officials on husband way has criticized the president
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suddensu subtly and not so subtly, failed to impose sufficient costs on russia talking about the actions of the administration he was serving and donald trump chastised mcmaster saying, he forgot to say that none of this changed outcome of the 2016 election. so mcmaster has been one who has stepped out as far as he could when in the white house and perhaps further, jonathan lemire when outside the white house. president trump has shown time and again that he doesn't take kindly to any criticism at all and maybe that's why, mika points out that inner circle has shrunk so maul. >> mcmaster maze that remark when he was already on the way out the door. replaced by john bolton, swallowed a lot of his previous beliefs about russia and north korea and stuff to toe the party line and go along with what the president has said, wants, at least publicly. that inner circle of people who can stand up to the president is
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very, very small. we keep hearing about ivanka trump and jared kushner being that they, would try to push back, and certainly it is hard to know always what sort of results they get but it's a washington cliche, when the president gives advice we hear a day or two later jared and ivanka tried to counsel him the other wray. a story line we've tired of hearing. >> let me go back to the list. digenova, by mistake, i meant jay sekulow and add to the list that would be ivanka and jared, who are, i guess, still in there. i think ivanka is running for president or something pup see on instagram. hopscotching the country as if nothing is wrong doing little selfies and pictures of herself in iowa, indiana and anywhere else connecting with people sort of.
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incred parody going on with his inner circle. seems the smartest people got voted off the island and this is the worst case of "survivor" you will ever watch badly. kasie hunt? >> one thing i -- in the broadest possible sense, that struck me, as i was listening to the hr mcmaster interview, the idea that these kinds of national security officials, and we've seen it in other instances, the letter that was written and signed by so many national security officials in response to the revocation of john brennan's security clearance, these are not people who as part of their sort of inner creed of how they operate are political people. one of the central tenants of holding a job like that is that you don't get involved, you don't criticize your commander in chief, you execute. and to have h.r. mcmaster, even in the terms that he did, come out and say something like that in public, i just -- if
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anything, it understates the magnitude of what is actually going on. >> and just one other thing, back to mika's point, not only are all the people who had talent left, they're also the ones with experience. his inner circle has no idea how washington works. and they're the ones who are trying to guide him through this. this just has disaster written all over it. >> well, it does. and that is apparently what white house insiders are finally learning. shocking -- shocked at how woefully unprepared this president is for an impeachment battle. but coming, as they say, impeachment battle. coming up, the president threatens to get involved in the justice department's russia investigation. is that something mueller would be interested in? we'll talk to a former federal prosecutor about that. and phillip rucker with more of his team's reporting about how
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the president's team is just so unprepared if the democrats win subpoena power. "morning joe" is coming right back. oena power "morning joe" is coming right back 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. liberty mutual insurance. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty ♪
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and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®. it wasn't about politics with john. he could disagree on substance, but it was the underlying values that animated everything john did. everything he was.
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you could come to a different conclusion, but where he'd part company with you is if you lacked the basic values of decency, respect. knowing that this project is bigger than yourself. and even though john is no longer with us, he left us pretty clear instructions. quote, believe always in the promise and greatness of america, because nothing is inevitable here. close to the last thing john said to the whole nation, as he knew he was about to depart. that's what he wanted america to understand. today, an american war hero lies in state at the u.s. capitol.
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john mccain, the statesman, the navy pilot, the prisoner of war, the u.s. senator. he will be eulogized this weekend by two american presidents, the same men to whom he lost the white house. yet won their respect, time and time again, with his words, with his actions, and by the way h y lived his life. barack obama and george w. bush will speak at mccain's services while the current president is not even invited. john mccain, a great man, with a massive legacy of patriotism and service, juxtaposed with a small man with so few principles, if any at all, really, what are they? this weekend, as mccain is laid to rest, donald trump will likely be on twitter, talking about himself in the same motive delusion in which he impugns his opponents and undermines america's standing in the eyes of the world. and that is where we are today.
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welcome back to "morning joe" on this friday, august 31st. still with us, we have white house reporter for the associated press, jonathan lamir. republican strategist and msnbc political analyst, susan del percio. nbc news capitol hill correspondent and coast of kasie d.c. on msnbc, kasie hunt, and joining the conversation, former justice department spokesman and now an nbc justice and security analyst, matt miller. white house bureau chief at "the washington post" and political analyst for msnbc and nbc news, phillip rucker. and in just a moment, we will have new poll numbers from "the washington post" and abc news. former u.s. attorney for the northern district of alabama and an msnbc contributor, joyce vance, and white house reporter for bloomberg news, jennifer jacobs, who interviewed the president yesterday in the oval office. so let's start right there with the big takeaways, jennifer. what did he tell you about the mueller investigation? >> well, we asked him if he's
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going to comply with the subpoena if he gets a mueller subpoena or if he would fight it. and he didn't want to talk to us about that. he kind of sidestepped around that and gave his typical answer, which is, we'll see. but we're told that he -- that they have been discussing it. we're trying to press him on whether he will still sit down with mueller. it doesn't sound like he's going to go voluntarily. so we are trying to really corner him on whether he would fight a subpoena or not, and he just wouldn't go there. >> so, jennifer, he also talked about jeff sessions, the attorney general in your interview, saying he's safe until at least the midterms. where did that sort of arbitrary deadline come about? >> we had heard lindsey graham and other republicans saying that they were urging him to keep jeff sessions as ag, until at least the midterms. so we said, hey, listen, are you going to listen to your advisers here and do this? and he said, yes, well, what about right after the midterms, what happens in the days after, and he said, i don't want to comment on that. but he expanded a little bit more on what irritates him about
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jeff sessions. and it all comes down to the fact that he doesn't think that jeff sessions is going after democrats the way the president would like him to. he kept saying, the other side, the other side colluded with the russians. he mentioned brennan and ohr and all these figures you see him tweet about all the time that are clearly on his mind. and he would like jeff sessions to, quote, do his job. he just wants him to do a good job and go after these democrats. >> and matt miller, again, such a window into the way that president trump views the united states government. in that his attorney general is there to protect him, and not to protect the constitution. >> yeah, two things you take from that. one, the delusional state he lives in, one, that bruce ohr as committed a crime. there's no indication that bruce ohr as committed a crime. second, this idea that the attorney general exists to prosecute and persecute donald trump's political enemies and to protect him from any investigation and prosecution. it is such a twisted view of the
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justice department that is really contrary to, you know, any -- what any previous president -- how any previous president has viewed the role. >> and jennifer, you are, in your interview, also talking with the president about john mccain. and we have a sound bite of that, the way he's handled the last week or so. let's listen. >> we had our disagreements. and they were very strong disagreements. i disagreed with many of the things that i assume he believed in. but with that being said, i respect his service to the country. >> he says he believes he's handled the last week well. we know, jennifer, that the coverage of the last week has eaten him up, that john mccain is being lauded on television and newspapers and by the republicans in congress who worked alongside john mccain. what did you pick up off the president as you discussed john mccain? >> we asked him point-blank, did you screw this up? did the white house tribute fall short? you had an opportunity to bring together the nation and you, instead, came under fire for the way the flags were again raised
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after just about 24 hours, the way that you didn't come out immediately and share your thoughts about this fellow republican, who ran for president, this vietnam war veteran. and he just very calmly said, no, no, i don't think i did screw it up. he said, i've done everything that they asked me to. he feels like he's being very accommodated. he offered praise. he says he thanks john mccain for our country. so, again, he just -- the entire interview was like that. it was all trump defending himself. he might lose the house, there's possibly this trade war escalating with china, there's all these problems, he's embattled, and he just repeatedly would tell us over and over, with extreme confidence, that he just made this great deal with mexico. he's corralled mexico, he's about to make a deal with canada, he told us. he just sees every point, you know, iran's regime is barely surviving thanks to his leadership and he expressed
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extreme tolerance and patience for north korea, that he feels like he can wait them out until they denuclearize. so, he said, he could see around corners and predict the future. he's delighted with the democratic candidates he's going to run against. everything was a sunny picture, which some people will see as overselling and overconfidence and other people will see as strength >> and who knew, an early adapter, according to your interview, to alexandria ocasio-cortez. he said he saw her on tv and knew she was a star and knew joe crowley was going to lose. but it is extraordinary, as mika pointed out at the top of the show, that at john mccain's memorial service tomorrow, there will be two presidents speaking, and neither will be the sitting president of the united states, and that at the request of john mccain. that the president of the united states stay away from the funeral. we have these new national polls released just moments ago show disapproval of president trump's job performance has reached a new high. the abc news/"washington post"
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poll found just 36% of americans approve of the president's job performance with 60% disapproving. meanwhile, 63% of americans support special counsel robert mueller's investigation of trump and his associates and only 29% oppose that investigation. the poll also asks about the allegation that president trump directed michael cohen to pay off women. if true, six in ten of those polled say trump committed a crime. asked if president trump tried to interfere with the mueller probe in a way that obstructed justice, 53% say he has obstructed. 35% say he did not. and on the president's convicted former campaign chief, a mere 18% think trump should pardon paul manafort. 66% of americans polled say he should not. phil rucker, these polls come from your newspaper. what jumps out at you this morning. >> well, what jumps out is there's a clear majority of americans who are guarding against president trump's efforts to influence the mueller investigation, to perhaps get rid of jeff sessions, to show
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his influence in the department of justice. again and again and again, they're disagreeing with the president. the president has spent all summer trying to discredit bob mueller with this tweetstorm, with the public relations campaign by rudy giuliani as his lawyer, and almost two-thirds of the american people support the mueller investigation. the president is speaking about getting rid of jeff sessions as the attorney general. almost two-thirds of the american people think he should not fire jeff sessions. and almost half of the american people, 49%, think congress should begin impeachment proceedings against president trump. that's a pretty striking number to us. >> and joyce advance, with the onslaught of news and developments in this presidency, we need people like you to help us understand it. but it is still hard to compute. it's hard to keep up with. what do you make of these numbers? >> the numbers are very interesting, because they'll influence one-half of this equation. the political half of the
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equation. we know that congress won't act until they feel that level of need and support from the people that elect them. and the other reality that we face in this investigation is that it's still extraordinarily unlikely that the special counsel, robert mueller, will break with doj practice and indict a sitting president. so this political portion of this entire package of accountability, whether it's criminal prosecution or impeachment, really will matter in the months ahead. >> it's truly -- i mean, if you -- the numbers, jonathan lamir, show that people are clueing in. i think it was earlier this week, we saw some fox news polling, as well, that was really showing that some people are seeing the light. and maybe they supported trump's approach. maybe they supported someone who was anti-washington, and anti-establishment, and said what he thought and shot from the hip.
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but, now it's getting a little, um, it's getting a little nerve-racking, watching what's happening. it's disturbing, i think, to some. and you wonder how much that is pervading the base. >> yeah, and i'm going to put on my msnbc political analyst hat here and say, these numbers are not good for donald trump. and i think that we're going to see a few things here. first of all, we are just nine weeks away from the midterms. these numbers are very, very worrisome for republicans, who know they have such an uphill climb ahead of them, to try to hold on to the house, even if they are able to hold on to the senate. it's going to embolden democrats, i think, the talk of impeachment, the talk of investigations that i think we discussed earlier. we'll see more and more of that, seeing a president who we think is weakened and vulnerable. but i think we'll see the exact opposite from president trump. we know that when he's backed into a corner, which i'm sure he will feel he is, after seeing these numbers, that he will lash out. he will attempt to, he will attempt to fight back. he will attempt to change the subject. he will just double down on what he does.
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he'll be emboldened in a microcosm of what he saw last night, a very, very, very enthusiastic crowd in indiana. so phil rucker, let me ask you. you've done some great reporting on where the president's mind-set is and the team around him. what do you anticipate coming here in the next couple of days? you know, this weekend is going to be dominated by the coverage of mccain. the president is going to be holed up in the white house, undoubtedly watching. where do you see him going this weekend, in response to the funeral coverage, but also, as we turn the corner, september 1st, we hit labor day, we're into the stretch run before the midterms. >> yeah, that's a good question. i think we'll see the president trying to get on the offensive, as best he can, to stoke some controversies, like he did this week with his attack on google. trying to create new enemies, new foils, new things that can really motivate his supporters to turn out. he's not trying to persuade independent voters who have already turned solidly against him in this election, he's trying to mobilize, to give his people out in the country a
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reason to come out in november and vote for republican candidates. and that's why you see him talking about the nfl national anthem issue. it's why you see him talking about the flag. it's why you saw the past couple of days, him really going after google and saying that there's a bias in these search engines against conservatives. and i think he'll look for other issues like that in the weeks to come. >> so, jennifer, first of all, my guess is he'll be in bedminster, golfing, pretending he doesn't care. given everything, jennifer, and the reporting surrounding this president, of white house insiders and lawyers, saying he is woefully unprepared for what is ahead, completely unprepared, and maybe even clueless, my question to you is, what was his mood in the interview, which is usually kind of a shallow question, but i'm curious, did you see any visual definition of someone who computes the magnitude of what is going on? >> it was just the opposite.
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it was just, just grandiose confidence, thinking that he has the power and the popularity and the influence to handle any trouble that comes his way. he told us that he thinks the mueller investigation is illegal. he told us that he thinks impeachment in the house is impossible, because he's doing such a great job. he had an answer for everything. we would pose all of these problems that were closing in on him, and he had nothing but confidence on how he was going to handle them and talked about how he's a more popular president than people know. and that he's looking forward to the 2020 election, and he thinks he can stop his competitors. he thinks he can make all of these deals with foreign leaders. he -- nothing -- he did not retreat an inch on any issue that we brought up with him. >> susan, what some of these numbers tell us is that, to the extent the president is trying to erode confidence in institutions, it's not working. 63% of americans support the mueller investigation.
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64% of americans, according to this poll, say, do not fire jeff sessions, which he has threatened to do, time and time again. and an interesting number, only 18% of americans support a pardon for paul manafort. 18%. >> and that's the really interesting number to me, because the others, we see the president's base, that we know hovers around mid-30s, we're seeing it go down to the low 30s. but even his base, only half of his base is willing to look at a manafort pardon. and that's after donald trump has gone out there, time and time again, saying what a great job that manafort is, you know, or not a great job, but what a stand-up man that manafort is. so that makes me think that there is, at least, from my point of view, a little hope that people realize that the president, they don't want their president going too far on this pardon, which also, i think, is a reflection of where they are on the justice department. >> now, we see republicans supporting the president in these numbers, but independents, 67% support the mueller probe. that's among independents.
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>> yeah, with the public at large, his campaign against bob mueller is not working. i think that 18% number is the most striking one. that is the shoot someone on fifth avenue caucus, basically. when you wonder, what is the absolutely bottom for his base, the ones that will let him get away with anything. it's 18%. the other notable number, the approval rating become 36%. in november of 2006 when george bush lost the house, lost the seat, lots six seats in the senate, lost dozens of seats in the house, his approval rating was 31%. if the president's at 36% in november when election day rolls around, we're not going to be talking about just a democratic house, but a democratic senate, as well. that's an abysmal number for him. >> yeah, they're pretty dismal. and let's remember, this is a man who throughout the campaign loved to whip out the poll numbers and say, you know, look at my numbers. everybody loves me. my audience was so big, cas kas
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hunt, first of all, donald, i know you're watching, because you have no discipline, you can't help yourself, and you're not sleeping, these are brutal numbers. absolutely brutal. it's going badly. kasie hunt, is there any other way to look at these numbers? how would you define them? >> i don't think so, honestly. and i do, it's clear, as matt was saying, that this is evidence that the rudy giuliani obfuscation, confuse, you know, change facts of the matter, day in and day out, is not actually taking hold with the broader span of the electorate. and phil rucker's point that this is really, that the president is running a base turnout strategy in the midterms, that's reflected in the polling numbers, as well. and you are seeing that core base. but it's getting -- if anything, it's shrinking, i think. we're seeing these numbers shrinking. and if there's anything that's going to change republicans in congress against this president, it's what will result from these
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numbers. i mean, this is, you know, you have expressed, mika, frustration over and over again on this show with republicans, in some ways, it's the beauty of our democracy. they're representing the people that they represent. those people start to turn against this president. i think you're going to see more of that. but phil rucker, i'm curious, i know you know this poll inside and out. is there anything buried in it that if you would highlight for us underneath these top line numbers? >> we've really touched on all of it. i would just point out that, you know, the president likes to think that he has the support of a lot of independent voters and our polls show that he doesn't. that in almost all of these measures, the majority of independents and in some cases, a large majority, in the 60s -- excuse me, or 70%, are against him. they're against firing sessions. they're against doing anything with mueller. they believe that he has interfered to obstruct justice. so it's not just democrats that have turned against the president, but it's independent voters, as well. >> you know, former louisiana
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governor, bob by jindal is out with a new op-ed this morning in the "wall street journal." it's entitled, why republicans stick with trump. obviously, written before the poll numbers came out. he argues that it's all the things trump hasn't done. and that on key issues, the president has come around to conservative positions, and it reads in part, this. to get a deeper answer, it's instructive to examine what mr. trump hasn't done. since the campaign, mr. trump has abandoned many of his previous positions, and embraced traditional conservative views. it isn't unusual for a politician to change positions, unsurprisingly, voters tend to be more forgiving of flip-flops, when they agree with the final result. this explains why mr. trump is forgiven for abandoning republican orthodoxy on free trade and entitlement reform. those convictions were always held more by donors than voters. the same is true of support for
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comprehensive immigration reform. if he were to cross his party on issues like taxes, abortion, or guns, it would be quite another story. but in the meantime, begging republicans to ditch mr. trump is a waste of time. susan, your take? >> well, i think it's -- you're right. this was written before these numbers come out. but there's numbers that came out last week, i believe, from and it showed the right direction/wrong direction of this country. and only 30% said it's in the right direction. and that's where the rubber meets the road, if you will, because republicans, the base yes, they're there, but there are a lot of moderates. we saw it even in the florida primary. even though it was a blowout, 30% of republicans in florida basically said "no" to donald trump. so that's where i think the movement is. and you know, in the midterm elections, i think you probably see those republicans stay home, which is going to be very
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dangerous for the republicans, obviously, keeping the house. >> well, we can't predict what's going to happen, but jennifer jacobs, what do you make of that take? >> well, i wanted to go back to something you mentioned earlier about him watching tv and spending the weekend with john mccain. i meant to tell you earlier that he gave us a bit of news, some insight into his thinking about john mccain and i can tell you that there were televisions on. the arizona coverage of mccain throughout the white house as we were there yesterday. we asked him a question about whether he thought that john mccain would have made a better president than barack obama? and sarah sanders and dan scavino were also in the oval office with us for the interview. and the president said, i have very strong opinions about that. he said that repeatedly, but he said, i just -- i don't want to weigh in. i don't want to tell you which one i would have thought would have made a better president. and sarah just sat there silently, but he looked at her face, and he said -- he kind of jokingly said, i think he's
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having a nervous breakdown over my answer here. and i don't think she was making any gestures or making a face at him, i think she was just looking at him. but he was very pointed in saying, i can't even identify john mccain, my fellow republican, as somebody who i would have thought would have been a better president than barack obama, who, as we all know, has criticized obama for years. so that was one of the most telling things from that interview. >> that's incredible. joyce vance, you know, when you hear jennifer describing his demeanor and the reports about insiders saying how woefully unprepared he is. and i guess i need to add dan scavino, who i know ran one of his country clubs, to the list of people who are still standing and advising him or just standing there listening to him, it feels like this president is careening toward the path to impeachment or some sort of
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legal turmoil. what do you think? >> you get the feeling that he has never made the mental shift from running the business to running the country. and he still views it very much as a businessman would, in a series of perhaps unconnected deals. and at the end of the day, he's thinking about, do the deals on balance make me look better? if i've got a couple of good deals, then i'm winning. and he's about to crash into the wall of principle, when the mueller investigation really does reach into the oval office. and that's not a business calculus. that's a calculus about the rule of law and about the underlying principles that govern presidential behavior, like the emoluments clause. he seems poorly prepared to take on those realities. >> matt miller, you were watching our interview last hour with mike allen, where there was some speculation over whether or not bob mueller might come out with something today and whether he might do so before the midterm elections. you said, mccain's funeral services, the honoring of john
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mccain through the weekend, does not factor into bob mueller's decisions here? >> yeah, i think that's right. if he has something ready to go, and remember, his grand jury in d.c. does meet on friday. so if the grand jury meets today and returns an indictment, he won't care about the funeral. and i also think a lot of people have misinterpreted this 60-day rule, which even calling it a rule misinterprets it. it's a norm, it's an unwritten rule at the justice department, that you don't do anything that would interfere if an election. take for example, someone like rodger stone. roger stone is not on the ballot anywhere. if mueller has an indictment ready to go october 1st against roger stone, he may decide to hold off for the election, but there's no reason he has to. i don't think you'll see him return something like a big report about the president of the united states in the next 60 days. that's 60 days before the election, but there are a number of other things relevant to this investigation that i think he could do. i don't think by any sense he needs to go quiet in this period after labor day. >> and there's also the southern district of new york, right? >> that's right. and the same rules will apply to him as they would to any other doj office. >> and roger stone has, in fact,
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said out loud he expects to be chandl charged sometime or indicted in the next few days or weeks. phil rucker, let's finish with you. put a cap on this polling we saw. 60% of americans according to the "washington post" poll say they disapprove of the president's job performance. 59% of independents disapprove and the majority support, 63% for the mueller investigation, 64% of americans say, don't fire jeff sessions. and again, only 18% of americans say the president should consider a pardon of paul manafort. what's going on in the white house right now? >> yeah, willie, the big takeaway is that the president's campaign to discredit mueller, to discredit the justice department, to discredit attorney general jeff sessions is flatly not working. that's what these numbers show. it's been a failure in terms of convincing the majority of the american public that the justice department is corrupt, that this investigation is a witch hunt. the american people think it's not. think that mueller's doing a good job. think it should keep going, and half of the american people
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think the president should be impeached. >> yeah. you know, it's so interesting, this whole segment. we've looked at the juxtaposition between the poll numbers and those who still stick with trump. the poll numbers showing cracks and confidence, perhaps, because of legal challenges, but bobby jindal's column really points to why there still is that report. on tax cuts, the supreme court, israel, guns, abortion. i think it's been 25 years since conservatives have had a president who pushed these issues. so his column really shows, sort of the friction right now in terms of support for trump, versus the coming legal storm or a potential impeachment battle ahead. so it's very interesting to watch the politics and the policy of this play out. "the washington post" phillip rucker, bloomberg's jennifer jacobs, former justice department spokesman matt miller, and former u.s. attorney joyce vance, thank you all. and still ahead on "morning joe," nearly 500 kids forcibly
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taken from their parents are still in custody, away from their parents. 22 children are under the age of 5. and one fifth of the total number of has been in u.s. custody all summer and it's not summer camp. this must be part of the national conversation right now and it will be straight ahead on "morning joe." t now and it will be straight ahead on "morning joe." slams on his brakes out of nowhere. you do, too, but not in time. hey, no big deal. you've got a good record and liberty mutual won't hold a grudge by raising your rates over one mistake. you hear that, karen? liberty mutual doesn't hold grudges... how mature of them. for drivers with accident forgiveness liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. liberty mutual insurance. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty ♪
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. joining us now, editor in chief of buzz feed, ben smith. ben's out with a new piece entitled, i helped create insider political journalism, now it's time for it to go away. ben, good to see you. >> thanks for having me on. >> there's a little bit of self-flagellation in the piece. there's a little bit of a reminder that you broke the john edwards haircut story in 2008. what's your thresis here and wht do you think we should get away from? >> i think the kind of reporting that i came up doing, an insider conversation that's essentially true to politics is a game. where you might have a rooting
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interest in one team, but your heart wouldn't be broken if the other team won. you know, there's a pretty strong argument that maybe that was never a good way to approach politics. but i think that what's clear right now is that no one wants that now. and i think, you know, you've seen all of us kind of wrestlinwrestling wi with, how do you do journalism in a moment when your audience feels like the stakes are extremely high, where a much wider range of people can participate in this public conversation. interesting to think about what an iraq war conversation would have been like if you had thousands of iraqis on twitter yelling at reporters about what was really happening. you have these two forces, one that really the stakes are higher right now, you know, in the trump era, there's this broad argument, what american democracy is, that is new and very, very high stakes. and then just the kind of hold on the political conversation by an elite insider class is broken down. >> and do you think it's changing? do you see it changing from what it was ten years ago, even? in terms of political coverage?
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>> absolutely. ti i think ten years ago, it was probably the peak of this moment when people like me took the traditions of this very insider trady coverage of who raised how much money in each quarter on one hand? and also the great narrative story telling of people like richard cramer who was focused on the character of the candidates and broke it into these tiny, tiny little bloggy bite-sized nuggets and narrated the campaign in this way. for political junkies, which we are and were. but often without a sense. you try to give it a sense, but at its worst, without any sense that there were stakes in this beyond the game. >> don't you think, though, that because of the explosion of social media and all the people who have platforms, that that form of journalism is always going to be with us? and that it can run parallel with the kind of journalism you're talking about today, which is going after policy, high stakes conversations about the issues. there are more people talking about politics right now. more people with a platform to talk about politics. so this is always going to be with us. >> oh, for sure.
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and i think it's -- we're not talking a sort of totally binary. there aren't two kinds of journalism. it's a complicated world out there. i think, certainly, my experience of what people on the internet want out of journalists is different than what it was five or ten years ago. and you know, like, i'm in a position, whether on twitter or buzzfeed or politico, i definitely get a lot of it. and i think there's just a sense that they expect us to take this stuff seriously. >> mika? >> yeah, i -- i want to understand the timing of this piece. i mean, this is a moment in time in history, when "the washington post" and "the new york times" are doing better than ever. shows like this, cable news, holding the president's feet to the fire, in a way that we've never seen before. the friction is real and the numbers, the ratings, and the subscriptions are all way up. so, explain, why would you write this now? >> well, i think -- >> pulitzer prizes, by the way,
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being handed out right and left. >> well, i think what you see on this show, on, you know, in "the post" and "the times," is not, microdevelopment inside campaigns. it's coverage of these huge, high, stakes issues and investigations, the president's broad views on american democracy. and it's sort of the fact that you have this broader audience has forced all of us into a broader conversation with a larger number of people, not with an insider class. i think critics will say some of what we're doing is a self-rinlgs theater that is just kind of a mask on this kind of inside conversation, and at the same time, i think people want to know what's happened. i think that there is an overlying expectation to that, that we don't think this is a game, that we take this seriously. that we realize the stakes in these decisions are really, really high. >> ben, you write in the piece that a brazilian editor once
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told you, you could tell his country was in politics because everyone was talking about politics all the time. >> in a normal country, nobody watches this show, sorry, folks. >> well, everyone right now is talking about politics and watching this show. so how does journalism meet that moment. >> what sort of coverage, what sort of investments should newspapers or television agencies be making? what sort of broader conversations should we be having, if we're not doing that day-to-day insider stuff? >> i think what we're trying to do at buzzfeed news is cover this as outsiders from the perspective of our audience, not from the perspective of a kind of elite class, right? and to tell a story -- and certainly, the kind of reporting that maggie haberman is doing about what is going on at the seat of power and what is really happening, not what -- not -- not what -- not about tactics and strategies. you know, that's incredibly important reporting. but i think, also, you know, the stories that are breaking through. the stories in "the times" and "the post" for you guys that are cutting through are stories that tell big, important stories about what, in particular, these days, the justice department is
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doing around immigration, around race, around, you know, around huge decisions about where this administration is trying to take the country. >> okay. ben smith, i think i get it. thank you so much for being on. >> i'm not sure i get it, but thank you. >> okay. that's fair enough. all right, still ahead, president trump has called mexicans criminals, drug dealers, and rapists. his administration has separated hundreds of children from their parents at the border. and now there's reporting that u.s. citizens in texas are having their citizenship questioned, based on their heritage. we'll talk about all of that next with texas congressman, joaquin castro. "morning joe" is coming right back. back ♪
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hundreds of children still remain separated from their parents according to new court documents filed by the trump administration. of the 2,654 children separated from their families at the u.s./mexico border, 497 remain in the government's care. parents of 322 of these children have already been deported.
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the administration said the parents of 167 children gave up the right to reunification. however, the aclu strongly disputes that claim, saying some parents may have been coerced or misled. meanwhile, congressional democrats are calling for a hearing over reports the trump administration is questioning the citizenship of hundreds, possibly thousands of hispanic americans along the southern border and denying them passports. "the washington post" reports that the government is denying passports to people with u.s. birth certificates in south texas, alleging that decades ago, midwives and some doctors in the region provided fraudulent birth certificates to babies who were born in mexico. state department spokesperson heather nauert responded to the report tweeting, the truth is, domestic passport denials for so-called midwife cases have
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actually decreased during the trump administration. the department has declined to provide information to "the post" about the number of people it has denied passports due to questions surrounding fraudulent birth certificates. joining us now, member of the foreign affairs and intelligence committees, democratic congressman, joaquin castro of texas. good to have you on board. >> thanks for having me. >> so where do we begin? i guess i'll start with the children who were separated from their families, families that have been deported or who have somehow given up that you aeir which i question that in many different ways, how that actually transpired. what can be done to fix this damage that has been done? anything? >> well, you're right. this is a humanitarian crisis. it's tragic. >> yes. >> the trump administration started separating young kids from their parents with no plans to reunify them. and that's what makes this
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especially cruel. some of these kids are very young and they've now been there for months and months. what we need to do now, what the judge should do now in this case is take it out of the hands of the trump administration and appoint a special master or a committee of special masters who are empowered to use all of the government's resources to reunify those kids with their parents and to go find the parents who have been deported and reunite them with their kids. >> can the president do something like that? can he appoint somebody and a committee to try and -- i mean, this is going to be a very difficult task, to try and reunite these children. >> right, the court could do it or the president could appoint, essentially, what amounts to a special master. but the problem is, as we've seen, the president -- this is just not a priority for him. this is not something that he's thought a lot about, i don't think. and so, it's going to take, i think, the court, a judge in this case, to come in there and say, to health and human services and to i.c.e., i'm
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taking this out of your control. i'm giving to it somebody outside of the government, to make sure that it gets done. that, i think, the best course of action at this point. >> and then, what do you make of these reports about the passports being denied? has this been happening in the past? is there a legitimate reason for it? the midwife cases? or is this more of the trump administration cracking down in a way that no presidency has seen? >> well, the reason that "the washington post" story that came out, i think, to days ago, was so troubling is that because, look, of course the president and his administration have gone after undocumented immigrants, including dreamers, who have been here a long time. but also have gone after legal residents and tried to limit the number of legal residents in the united states. and then there was reporting over the last year about stephen miller trying to form a group of people to go scrub the citizenship records and applications of naturalized citizens. so when "the washington post"
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report comes out, saying that the trump administration is now denying the full rights of citizenship, including passports to hispanics in south texas, of course it's going to raise alarms. i heard the quo that the state department gave. that's not exactly what they told our office yesterday. they couldn't give us specific numbers on how many people had been affected. and yes, this has been a problem in the past. in the 1950s, there was basically, there was an operation called operation wetback, that rounded up a bunch of mexican nationals, who had been brought here to be part of the labor force in the 1940s and 50s, but in that roundup, there were a lot of americans, mexican americans who were caught up in that and summarily deported. it was also a problem later, so much so that in 2009, the obama administration actually tried to stop the practice of denying these passports, and it looks like the trump administration may be starting it up again. >> yeah, "the post" reports, congressman, that both george w.
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bush and barack obama did deny passports, some of these midwife passports. but i want to ask you more broadly how the issue of immigration and the trump administration's approach to it is playing in the state of texas. there's a big senate race there, between beta o'rourke and ted cruz. how big a deal is immigration and this administration's stance on immigration in that race and in your state? >> i think it's playing a big role. many texans, most texans are dissatisfied with the trump administration's position on immigration. and they're advice satisfidissa ted cruz, because ted cruz won't stand up to donald trump, even though time after time, not only on the issue of immigration, but also on nafta and other issues, donald trump has done things that are hurting the state of texas. >> congressman, it's jonathan lamir. i mean, how closely -- what do you think, about the children being celebrated. let's go back to that in a
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moment. this has become sort of a defining moral crisis of this administration. and it is one that is still continuing. we're now a couple of months in. you mentioned the president could step on the special master, but more broadly speaking, what do you think this says about the values of america. that this could still be happening, still persisting, and even though we're a few weeks now from seeing these images of children crying and separated at the border, now they're being replaced by images and parents, even those who have been reunited, those children being changed. not recognizing their mother or father or feeling different. where does that speak to us right now as a nation? >> well, y'all know that this, the news cycle moves so fast now, but this story was on the news for about six weeks straight, which is remarkable in this era, to be able to do that. and to capture the nation's attention. and i think when most persons saw what happened and the separation, especially of young kids, i went to two of these
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facilities and saw an 8-month-old baby and a 1-year-old girl were there with no family members, no parents present, and i think people's reactions were, this is not america, this isn't who we are and shouldn't be who we are and what we stand for. and the challenge now is to make sure that those remaining kids that have been separated from their parents get reunited. you know, but another challenge is, like i said, the media cycle moves so fast and there's so many legitimately important stories that come up, but we can't let this go. we can't allow 500 people, 500 kids to be permanently separated from their parents, just because those parents were seeking asylum or so desperate that they felt that they needed to leave their home country to seek a better life and protect themselves. >> congressman joaquin castro, thank you for your time, appreciate it. we have a lot more ahead this morning on "morning joe" and some fun video as we go to break. a look at british prime minister theresa may throwing down some
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dance moves yesterday in kenya on a three-day trip aimed at boosting britain's trade with that country. oh, she really is getting down. this really, though, just an excuse for us to show president bush. >> yes. >> the members of a west african dance company in the rose garden in 2007. >> i don't think we've seen president trump dancing like this, any sort of -- >> somehow -- and working the drums, as well. don't forget that. "morning joe" is coming right back. rget that. "morning joe" is coming right ba ck let's begin. yes or no?
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confirmation hearings for supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh begin tuesday. that coincides with the publication of a new book that warns of the growing power of the supreme court. it's entitled the most dangerous branch inside the court's assault on the constitution. and the author, david a.kaplan joins us now. good morning. it's good to see you. let's begin with an exert from the book. i want to read americans are.
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for decades now, the supreme court has been central in american life. it is the nine justices who decide so many of the controversial issues of our time. more than congress, sometimes more than the president, it is the court this holds sway. that was why so many voters in the trump/clinton election made their choint on whom they thought their candidate would appoint to the court. kennedy's retirement and the storm that followed it underscored just how distorted the court's role had become. the sky may actually be falling this time, but part of the reason is that we've come to accept the enrobed justices as our own jedi high council. explain what we mean a little more by that and the way america looks at the supreme court and the way it shouldn't look at the supreme court. >> liberals and conservatives alike believe the court should be deciding the key social and political issues of our time, when it's abortion or same-sex marriage or campaign finance, voting rights and gun control.
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and it is that orthodoxy that i wanted to challenge in the book. it's not so much the outcome of those decisions. i'm a political liberal. but i don't believe the court should be involved in those and other areas. and people confuse their views on the outcome of cases like roe v. wade. >> it has a distorting effect on a presidential election. it explains why we'll have the confirmation circus we'll see next week. >> and how many times have we heard the justification i voted for donald trump because of the justices and we've got one and another one come. how did we get to this point? you're right, that is the perception of the supreme court that they shape policy in some way. when did that change? how did we get here? >> there have been moments throughout the 20th century where the court was
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interventionists. i mark the period 50, 60 years ago. certainly brown v. boards was interventionists. that was a correct use of court power. but in the 60s and thereafter is where the justices started to feel their oats. if you talk to them, their view is, well, litigants come to us and want us to decide. and that's disingenuous because the court controls its october docket. take a case like bush v. gore. the justices, almost to a person, thought they had to get involved to save the country and, of course, all they had to do was look across the street at the capital and realize the constitution itself provided for the congress to determine the outcome of that kind of a election. that said, if we'll come to you and want you to resolve social issues, it's a pretty good gig. it was said about justice candidates, you run the country.
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why would you give it up? >> casey hundred hasas a questi in washington. >> what's the change that you are proposing? i mean, i think most of us look at the constitutional system that's set out and say, well, obviously, the system is set up for the court to decide matters like these. it's not necessarily as though they can make a declaration and say you, congress, you have to decide this. congress can take it upon themselves to rewrite a law if they're unhappy with a decision. but what are you saying we should do instead of the way it's set up now? >> i don't know that there's a wave of the wand solution. the book is descriptive. you can certainly change the culture of how nominees get selected by a president. but the change has to come primarily from the justices.
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as justice brand said a hundred years ago, i think most importantly we don't decide. i think brett kavanaugh will shift the court to the right. he is more conservative than anthony kennedy. but i think the new swing justice will be john roberts and john roberts has given intimations on some occasion, like on the obamacare ruling, that he wants to reign in the power of the court and that his own policy views on issues are less important than his views on the institution itself. and i think he knows the court does itself damage and he knows it weakens other branches like congress. congress is very happy not to get involved in key issues because the justices will do it for them. >> that is true. the new book "the most dangerous branch" inside the supreme court's assault on the
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constitution is out on tuesday. thank you for being on this morning. still ahead, u.s. companies, institutions and leaders both foreign and domestic step up to defend themselves against the president's myth, truth, lies and attacks. we'll walk through the long list from just this week. plus, the president says his opponents will be violent if republicans lose the midterms. we'll show you who was actually in court yesterday accused of threatening violence. yesterday threatening violence ♪ it's the final days of the ford summer sales event. ♪ there are only a few days left to take advantage of great deals like zero percent financing for sixty months on the built ford tough f-150. so hurry and save big on ford, america's best-selling brand. get zero percent financing for sixty months plus twenty-eight hundred bonus cash on a 2018 f-150 xlt
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talk to your doctor about xarelto®. welcome back to "morning joe." with us, we have white house reporter for the associated press jonathan lameer, republican strategist and msnbc political analyst susan delpercio, associate editor at "the washington post" and msnbc political analyst eugene robinson and nbc news capitol hill correspondent and host of kasiedc on msnbc, laser rock, kasie hunt. let's frame the morning. there is pressure mounting all around the president. the russia probe, the midterm elections, his legal team now in limbo. now after hastening the exit of his white house lawyer, there is
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news that donald trump is shockingly woefully ill prepared for the constitutional crisis that is engulfing his presidency. it is a crisis that could very well lead him down the path to impeachment. many say it absolutely will. and despite all that or perhaps because of all that, he's picking fights every day, new ones. often on twitter, often with zero facts, ludicrous. american companies, departments of government, the post office, the u.s. war hero, and now these institutions, these elected officials, these foreign allies are forced to fact check the leader of the free world. this is where we are at. president trump accuses google of repressing him. google says it's not true. he accuses south africa of all but condoning white farmers. south africa says he is misinformed. he says the attorney general
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never took control of the justice department. jeff sessions says he did from day one. can this distraction campaign be new for white house insiders, whoever is left? donald trump seems to be woefully ill equipped for the looming constitutional crisis that could end his presidency and, of course, none of his staff, whoever is left, seem to have the guts to tell him had. willie, "the washington post," ashley parker gets into this portrait of a president flailing at straw men. take us through it. >> and all this as a split screen as america says good-bye to american hero and senator john mccain who will lie in the capital rotunda. the president divorcing himself and his support frers reality. ashley parker writes over the past day, president trump has decried the totally dishonest media with its fake news and fake books, he's argued google
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is bias against conservatives. he's accused nbc news of fudging a tape of an interview with him that has been available online for more than a year. the president even has declared there is no chaos in his white house which he claims is a smooth running machine with changing parts. despite the tumult almost daily. trump's tweets come just over nine weeks before the midterm elections that could help determine his fate and they're bound by one unifying theme. all of his perceived opponents are pedalling false facts and only trump can be trusted. the frenzy's pace of trump's tweeting is viewed by some as a reaction to some as bob wood ddz ward's release, fear in the white house. and last night in indiana, the president's mind preoccupied by coverage of his west virginia rally ten days ago. >> last week, you saw it. i was in the great state of west virginia.
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we were in a fantastic arena, beautiful, smaller than this, but a very great place. we had crowds that were incredible. a writer for the "new york times" that pretends she knows what she's talking about hasn't got a clue. and i'm telling you, the enthusiasm was the same. the place was packed. she made the statement that president trump was disappointed to see some independent chairs. yeah, they were going to the bathroom, maybe. took twitter off my phone while i was away. the president going after his perceived enemies, the slides against him. and all this, again, as i say, as the nation's paying tribute to a man that he holds in
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disdain, frankly, john mccain. >> welcome back. we saw this last night that the president made no mention of john mccain. as much of the nation is focused on paying tribute to a war hero, a decorated senator, someone who gave his whole life mostly for his country, donald trump has perpetuated an incident against him. i think what you saw last night is illustrative of where the president's mind is. that west virginia rally, it was a pretty good crowd. my colleague in the room reported, however, there were empty seats. it didn't have the usual enthusiasm that a trump rally does. last night in indiana, that crowd did. it was sort of a greatest hits of the trump experience, including his attacks. at the media, at institutions,
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at the fbi, department of justice and that, i think, for many people was the take away last night was him once again suggesting that he may need to intervene with the ongoing russia probe with the workings of the department of justice because he feels like it's bias against him. >> and as you write in a piece that we'll talk about in a minute, some people within the white house, former officials worry that this white house is not prepared for what is coming down the road. mika. >> susan, i want to get your take on this. it's a big one. we're seeing significant institutions and people pushing back at some of these unsubstantiated claims by the president. i mentioned a few of those at the top and it's hard to believe. but let's go through some more. donald trump says in a tweet that china hacked hillary clinton's private e-mail server. trump accuses google of not promoting his state of the union
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address like they did when president obama was in office. google fired back in a statement given to buzz feed saying they did promote trump's 2017 state of the union, but not his first address to congress, something they also did not do for obama in 2009. the president initially would not budge in keeping the flag at the white house at half-staff in honor of john mccain. he only reportedly gave in after a stirring public statement from the american legion. last week, trump tweeted about having the state department look into the large scale killing and seizure of land from white farmers. it was another tweet inspired by a fox news segment. the south african government responded saying trump was wrong. trump tweeted the other day that we lose jobs and over $800 billion a year on really dumb trade deals and these same countries tariff us to death.
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republican senator ben saff responded this is simply wrong. and last week, after the president said that attorney general jeff sessions never took control of the justice department and it's a sort of incredible thing, sessions issues a rare public response to the president, which read in part, i took control of the department of justice the day i was sworn in. while i am attorney general, the actions of the department of justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. wow. susan, i ask you, is it good news that we're seeing this pushback or bad news that -- and this is where i would probably weigh in -- that it has to happen in the first place? >> it is good news that there is pushback. and i think we'll see a lot more of it. but to your point as being bad news in the first place that it has to happen, i think this week was particularly unraveling for donald trump starting on sunday morning when he started to see the coverage on fox about the passing of senator john mccain.
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and we just saw him spin out after that. the tribute tos to john. and we know that the president projects. so we saw a lot of the lack of president trump's -- we saw his deferments compared to senator mccain's service. i think it was just -- donald trump knew in that moment he would never receive those accolades from the american public, from the military, from everybody in a bipartisan way. and he will never go down as being one-tenth of 1% of what john mccain was and how he served this country. and i think that just made these things roll out and have him frankly go completely unhinged. >> gene robinson, it is jarring to see a president of the united states not able to overcome his own gripes with john mccain over
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the years going back to if we want to go back even further in the campaign when he talked about john mccain not being a war hero. even in death to not be able to get over your petty grievances with john mccain, it's sad to watch. >> yeah, it is sad and it is weird. you have to -- with trump, you always -- it's always part calculation, part crazy. right? and you have to take into account both his calculation and his craziness. now, you know, he likes to dominate every news cycle. he wakes up every morning, i think, determined to win that day, that episode of of this really weird and tiresome reality show that he's running. so all of this, that's a partial kind of rationale, i guess, motive. but it overlaid is his -- all his neurosis, all his
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insecurities about himself, about his performance, about his deferments that he got because of his bone spurs and whether that makes him less of a man, about his small hands, probably, whatever. and so you see that, too. so you can't tease apart the calculation from the crazy. it all just adds into the -- it's really an extraordinary week. if you just step back and just look at what we have heard from this president just over the past week. you would never believe that you would hear such things from the head of state of, you know, of the most obscure banana republic, let alone the president of the united states. still ahead on "morning joe," donald trump calls the media the enemy of the people. so did a man armed with 20 guns who allegedly threatened "the boston globe." why words matter, next on "morning joe."
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but first, bill karins with a check of the forecast. good morning to you, mika. the holiday weekend looks okay in many areas. today, 11 million people at risk of severe storms. if we get the airport delays, it will be when thunderstorms are rolling through minneapolis, possibly omaha, maybe areas around kansas city. a lot of the east coast airports will be okay. there could be a hit and miss shower or storm. d.c., philadelphia, boston, they will be hit and miss. watch out in new orleans to houston. pretty good line of thunderstorms will be expected later on today. middle of the country, you're not too bad from oklahoma city to dallas. all of friends in the west, you're pretty much good from today through the holiday weekend. let's take you through the holiday weekend into saturday. we're cool in the northwest. if we have any rainy concerns, they're going to head down through chicago. the area from nebraska through iowa, southern wisconsin, maybe 2 to 3 inches of rainfall with the thunderstorms day after day here. if anyone is going to have a washed out weekend ahead, it will be in this region. and then everyone pretty much east of the mississippi is very
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warm, 80s and 90s and humid on labor day. we have to watch out for a tropical wave bringing rainfall to florida on monday. that flood watch continues with storms there in iowa, nebraska and southern wisconsin. new york city, enjoy the cool weather while it lasts. the brief cooldown goes through saturday and back into the 90s next week. saturday and back ints next week. my mom's pain from
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this wi-fi is fast. i know! i know! i know! i know! when did brian move back in? brian's back? he doesn't get my room. he's only going to be here for like a week. like a month, tops. oh boy. wi-fi fast enough for the whole family is simple, easy, awesome. in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. a california man has been charged with threatening to kill employees of the boston globe. officials say 68-year-old robert chain made more than a dozen threatening phone calls to the paper starting on august 10th, the same day the globe urged newspapers nationwide to publish editorials supporting the free press. in several of his calls, the fbi said that he referred to the paper as, quote, enemy of the
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people. it's a phrase the president has repeatedly used against the press, including his twitter tirade yesterday. and note that he makes no distinction in this tweet between the media as a whole and fake news. officials say the man threatened to, quote, kill every f'ing one of you, talking about the globe employees and he added why don't you call mueller. maybe he can help you out. federal officials say they found 20 guns in his home. he appeared in court yesterday and was freed on $50,000 bond. the judge ordered him to stay away from guns and away from the globe. here is what he said after his court appearance. >> i'm making a statement. the united states got saved by having donald j. trump elected as president. >> now get out of our way. >> now take a hike, you bozos. >> i think we should take him off. i don't want to see any more of
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that. gene robinson, what's your take? >> there you saw it. first of all, the guy has 20 guns and it's -- it could not be clearer where he got the inspiration for all this from. he uses that stalinist phrase, enemy of the people, the phrase that president trump has used and when he started using it, people began warning that something like this, that something worse than this would happen. and, you know, who can doubt that we're headed in that direction. i mean, it's just extraordinary that the president of the united states would -- >> horrific. >> -- would have inspired this and continues to inspire others who might have this sense of warped sense of reality and grievance and anger that the
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president stokes. what a disgusting, disgraceful role for a president to play and how fortunate that they got this the guy. i hope they get those 20 guns out of his house, too. and i hope, you know, the authorities and news organizations are vigilant against the others who, i'm sure, are are out there. somebody is going to get hurt. i've said it before and i still, sadly, believe somebody is going to get hurt. >> there was just a matter of hours between the tweet, the president had, the enemy of the people and this man's arrest in encino, california. let's hope he was just running his mouth, but as gene suggests, there will come a day and we all know it and we all talk about it that the next person won't just be running his or her mouth, that this will come to violence. >> and the person who is
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constantly running his mouth is the president of the united states doing absolutely nothing to try and tamper this down. we.shouldn't be surprised. this is someone who was willing to pay for legal fees to his supporters who punched out protesters. so i'm not shocked in this behavior from the president. but, you know, i'm on the other side a lot of times with reporters. i'm the flack. i'm the one who goes back and forth. and i've never seen this kind of disrespect -- beyond disrespect between the communications side, especially from a president's team, and the press and then to have the president just pile on top of that is just disgraceful and really sad. and don't think for a moment it is not part of tearing down one of the basic pillars of our society. >> you know, there was a photograph from the rally, i believe the rally last night of a trump staffer blocking the camera lens of one of the news
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photographers who was there to try to keep the photographer from taking a picture of a protester who was around. i mean, there's a picture. this is unacceptable. this is extraordinary. this is unacceptable. this is the way -- you know, i've -- i wrote a book about cuba. i've been to -- i covered chile under pino chea. i've seen how authoritarian regimes treat the media, control the media, until ultimately they are the only source of information. no american wants to live in a society like that. donald trump wants to head us in that direction. coming up on "morning joe," the republican nominee for governor of florida says there is nothing to be sorry about after throwing around the word monkey when talking about his opponent's policies. come on. that conversation is next on "morning joe." n is next on
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within the republican party,
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the highest poll numbers, i think it's -- well, they have 92 and they have 93%. the highest poll numbers ever. ever. i actually asked them, i said, did they do polling when honest abe lincoln was around? nobody has been able to give me that answer, but i'm assuming they did so we can say we're beating honest abe. >> president trump won't like the new national polling released last hour that shows disapproval of his job performance as reached a new high. the abc news and "the washington post" poll found that 36% approval of the president's job performance while 60 pirs disapprove. 63% support robert mueller's
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investigation of trump and his associates. the poll asks about the allegation that president trump directed michael cohen to pay off women. if true, six in ten says trump committed a crime. asked if trump tried to inter fe fere with the mueller probe, 65% say he did. a mere 18% think trump should pardon paul manafort. 66% say he should not. joining us now, walter isaacson and host of msnbc's politics nation and president of the national action network. good to have you both. walter, your take on these poll numbers, especially given we read a column written by bobby gindah last hour. on a lot of issues, tax cuts, guns, abortion, the supreme
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court, president trump has talked to them and you could argue conservatives haven't had a president who has done this in 20, 30 years. so on the issues, you know, you could see why some might stay with him, but these poll numbers, what's your take? >> you have a certain type of racism that appeals to a certain type of race, but he's been doing things such as cutting taxes, doing things against abortion, and certainly the economy is doing quite well. corporate profits were up, unemployment is down. so i think that is why, to me, it is not why the only -- you know, why is he at 36%, that's a pretty solid base that he hasn't been -- hasn't gone below.
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you know, he jokes about he is better than abraham lincoln in the republican party. i think he forgets the history of how the republican party was started and what abraham lincoln was like. if these poll numbers were to go down, it would be because the economy starts going down, in my opinion. >> and while the president is getting bad information about polling in the lincoln era, he's right he's among the most popular president since world warrer two among his own party. but if you look at the numbers today, only 36% of americans approve and 59% of independents disapprove of the job he's doing. almost 6 in 10 independents disapprove of the job he's doing, which does not bode well for him call this fall in the midterm elections and the couple of years that will follow as he rounds out his first term.
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>> you cannot win without the majority of independents. his base is not broad enough. the other thing that we have found in history is that people will stand with what is popular when they're running, but if you don't stand for something, you won't last long. the reason why the nation respects john mccain today is not because he did what was popular. he did what he believed was right, whether we agreed or disagreed in any given time. and i think that you need a president that does not chase the polls, that does not operate from being divisive and inciting things that we are seeing. but a president that stands for something. to compare him to abraham lincoln, pollwise or otherwise is a stretch for anybody. >> reverend sharpton, it's jonathan they're.
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one of the other poll nebs is on the mueller probe and investigations and a majority of americans and increasingly want the mueller probe to continue. z you're seeing there, 63% want it to go on. only 18% would like the president to pardon paul manafort which is convicted last week or so based on an investigation opened up by the special counsel. so what that seems to be saying to us is that this disinformation campaign, the attempt to muddy the waters by rudy giuliani is not working. what is your sense of this? what do you think this means for the american people and what they're trying to say about the probe and what do you think the white house's response will be? will they shift tactics? >> i think that the american people are saying that we are not as dumb or stupid as some think we are. you can't just keep yelling fake news when we're seeing indictments, when we're seeing if you believe in preguilty, when we're seeing convictions. the american people want to know
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whether or not their votes were in any way influenced by foreign enemies. and i think that what we see here is all of the screaming of fake news and the spending about fox news and others just doesn't work. i think that the white house would either dig in and continue this way, which will be, i think, to their chagrin and to their demise, i should say, or they will have to reverse if they really want to save any of their fellow republicans in the midterm elections. my guess, knowing them the way i've known and fought them for 30 or 40 years in new york, my guess is they're going to dig in because they feel like they have this kind of entitlement to being arrogant against the face of truth. >> terrible. walter, i want to get your take on this. there is new reaction to the president's remarks earlier this week that his opponents would
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turn violent if the gop lost the midterms. he made the remarks during a private dinner with evangelical leaders on monday. the vice president in an interview that aired yesterday on the christian broadcast network was asked to clarify. >> what i heard the president say is that the democrats take over the congress. their goal is to turn back everything we've done for the american people. >> the president's point, as i took it from where i was seated, was that the democrat party in congress is absolutely committed to reversing everything that we've been able to do for the american people. >> is that what he said? i don't think that's what he said, vice president pence. i think you are aiding and abetting in a lie.
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when the president was asking to clarify his comments, he said, quote, i just hope there won't be violence. walter isaacson, help me understand why the vice president doesn't know the difference between right and wrong and has lost his ability to articulate when someone has said something completely inappropriate? >> well, i'm glad when he tries to say trump really didn't mean what trump said. because what trump says is so divisive and so pulling us apart and that will be, i think, another of his vulnerabilities in the coming months, into the midterms and it is coming years, which is people get really sick of this drama. people getting sick of the hatred getting stirred up. people are getting frightened about a gunman in california stirred up about trump's tweets on fake news. this drama is tearing the nation apart and after a while, we're all a bit exhausted by it, but we're also morally repelled by
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it. and so i think that, you know, we're going to have to say we need to heal as a nation. look at the contrast of the outpouring for john mccain. he was a guy who was a deeply principled person, but you can have a joe biden or a becky quick up there because he didn't try to rip us apart. when people try to rip us apart, as at that rally where somebody said obama was a muslim, mccain brought us together. i'm down here in louisiana, people who are very conservative and people who like trump, but they're exhausted by this divisiveness and poison that he's injected into our political system. >> and just to follow up on what walter said there, they're exhausted. that's why they feel that the president's numbers are so bad. but i also want to follow-up on the idea of having a good
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economy right now. which we do. which we seldom hear the president talk about. but if all of a sudden, we're in october and health insurance rates come out, which are expected to go up anywhere between 15% and 25%, so that is going to be a hit to the pocketbook. if we're still in a trade war with china, if the tweaks to nafta aren't approved today, we're going to deal with the president from mexico. they're going to start hitting people economically. i think if you add that plus what is going to be escalated rhetoric, if we're going to, as a country, start either pulling ourselves further apart or maybe trying to find a way to desperately cling on a way of hoping to stay together. >> rev regard sharpton, you'll be speaking shortly at aretha franklin's memorial service. want to talk to you about that in just a moment, but also at
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another memorial tomorrow at the national cathedral which is the extraordinary circumstance where you have two united states presidents speaking at the funeral of ans steamed revered united states senator and neither one of them is the sitting president of the united states. you'll have barack obama and george w. bush both delivering eulogies for senator john mccain and at mccain's request, the sitting president of the united states will not be in the room. rev. >> one of the things that you can learn from this is john mccain sent a message of trying to unify the country and bring us together and say we can disagree without being disagreeable. and using his own funeral that he, in many ways, laid out and organized to say i want to reach out to people that i ran against
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to show how we must come together at the end and make america something and make the world something it was supposed to be, the real eulogy for john mccain was how he wrote his program and that is how aretha franklin's program will be today where she has people of all walks of life coming that said her music emboldened and empowered they will, somehow god must have planned to bring two great people in at the same time to show the best in us that we can try to rise above our tribes and our silos and realize that we're here for things that are bigger than us. so i think that with mccain's example and having president obama and president bush tomorrow, not having someone who has been the divider in chief rather than the commander and united in chief. and by all of us coming together to say thank you to aretha franklin who found a way in her music to break through boundaries, she could go from the gospel church to pavarotti
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and do it flawlessly, i think it gives us a weekend to reflect that we all need to grow and try to be better in the spirit of both of these giants. >> walter, as somebody who is studied and written about so many presidents and the way presidents conduct themselves, there's a way we come to expect them in these national moments of mourning for united states senator, like john mccain. president trump, like with almost everything else is doing it differently, in fact is resentful of the coverage that john mccain is getting and only when he's pushed and provided does he, again, lower the flag to half-staff. only when pushed and provided does he offer condolences to the family, not carrying himself the way we've expected presidents to carry themselves in these national moments. >> a president is supposed to be a leader. a leader appeals to our moral instincts, preferably it leads us to a better place.
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that's something this president doesn't do. i like the concept of aretha up there singing "respect" as john mccain comes to join her. but that notion of we as a nation coming together, we do it through a president. now we've got a president who, you know, doesn't seem to know that his campaign manager, paul manafort, was deeply corrupt and probably in the sway of foreign enemies and he's tweeting that all of this is unfair. he's pulling down every institution of our society on a weekend like this. i think we're all going to take a bit of a breath and say this is not what we are as a country. we don't want this any more. reverend, we want to end with your take on this next story. after facing criticism for what many called insensitive racial comments, congressman and
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republican nominee for florida governor ron desantis says he will not apologize to his opponent. democratic nominee andrew gillum for warning florida voters not to, quote, monkey this up. >> i am not going to apologize because i didn't say anything about race. it had nothing to do with race. it had to do with his far-left socialist platform. and i'm not going to be cowed by this drive by media and some of these elites into trying to admit i did something that i didn't do. >> reverend sharpton, your take. >> well, i think that, first of all, there is no other way to interpret his statement of monkeying up, then the racial implications. clearly we've seen it over the last several years when it was used in reference to president obama. this was a man who went to ivy league schools. he's not stupid. he moos the signal he's sending. he is someone that has watched donald trump through dog
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whistling if not outright bull horning. and i think he's chosen the divisive hostile way to run his campaign. if he had any inkling of want to go govern in a united way, if he is elected governor, he would say maybe that's not what i intended, but i apologize because i didn't want to offend people. all of us had had to do that in our careers if they last long enough. but when you're so small that you can't look beyond yourself or that you've chosen a path of darkness, then you will never, ever try and be above that because that's the path you've chosen. i commend andrew gillum for not going there and being further divisive but taking the high road as he addressed being insulted. but there's no way they had to deal with this and this we cannot have america return with that kind of politics. >> no, we can't. reverend al sharpton, we'll be
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thinking of you as you say good-bye to the queen of soul today. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> and walter isaacson, thank you, so much. up next, an incredible story a half century in the making. we'll take a quick break from politics to dig into the 50-year fight to exonerate an innocent man. keep it rye here on "morning joe." cent man. keep it rye here on "morning joe.
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nearly one year ago, the wreckage of the uss indianapolis, lost after 72 years, was remarkably found. 18,000 feet deep in the philippines sea. joining us now, best selling author lynn vincent and national geographic historian, one of the world's leading experts on the flagship of the world war ii pacific fleet, sara vladic. they are the authors of the brand new book "indianapolis" the true story of the worst sea disaster in u.s. naval history and the 50-year fight to
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exonerat exonerate an innocent man. >> it's a story i know very well because of a kid named hunter scott. of course, hunter is a grown man now. but i remember him coming into my office, showing a project he had for his middle school class talking about this the, how this horrible accident and how the captain of the ship had been wrongly blamed. and i can't believe myself, being in the middle of it, that this young man was able to help exonerate this captain. >> it was astonishing. it was the end of the war. the americans were on the verge of victory. and here was this terrible accident, just as pearl harbor began the war, indianapolis ended the war. and with a loss of nearly a thousand lives and over a thousand if you count the sinking of another ship under similar intelligence failures. and so the navy really was
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looking to lay the blame somewhere and they laid it on captain mcveigh. >> and talk about -- talk about -- there's a"jaws" where you have one of the people on the boat talking about the horrors of the "uss indianapolis." jud >> so, 1,100 men went in the water. the sharks took the rest. 1945. anyway. >> that scene in "jaws" is pivotal because most americans at this time, that's the first they knew of that horrible sea disaster of world war ii and really in the history of the united states navy. and so one of the things that is famous about "indianapolis" is the sharks that attacked the men in the water.
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of course the captain in "jaws" made that famous but what people don't know is many lives were lost from the injuries sustained when the ship sank. 900 went in the water alive. only 316 survived. the sharks killed many. but also many died of their wounds. a horrible, painful way to die. many went insane and actually attacked each other. >> why did you personally take on this research and this book? >> as a naef veteran, i thought this was really an iconic story. there may be world war ii stories that are as iconic, but none more iconic. one of the things we wanted to do was help people understand the serious history of this story. but also help them understand what was it like to be a 16-year-old serving on the flagship of the pacific fleet during world war ii. what was it like to be the
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gunnery officer? and one of the things we were able to tell for the very first time was the transport mission, the atomic bomb, which was the most highly classified mission of world war ii. >> sara, the elements of this story are so dramatic. the timing of the story. the ship. the indianapolis carrying the component parts of a weapon that ended the war, literally with -- in terms of history, within seconds after this ship -- within weeks, seconds. the shocks, the captain being court-martialed. i mean, all the elements of this drama are so compelling. what attracted you to it? >> i think initially was there was no information on it. i mean, when i first learned about it, i was 13 years old. the story was reduced to a single line. it was the ship that carried the bomb and it was sunk. for something so significant in our history to be reduced to a
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single line, i needed to know more. and so i thought, oh, someone will tell this story before i'm old enough to do so and they didn't. that was kind of the draw. it was this incredible story and these heroic men and what they did at the end of world war ii was never told. meeting with the survivors -- >> the captain unfairly accused and court marshalled. >> exactly. especially that part of the story and the 50-year fight to exonerate the captain hadn't been told so it was something that deserved to be shared with everyone. >> just to add one more layer of drama almost melodrama to the whole thing. the junior damage control officer aboard the boat who writes the war damage report for the navy testifies at the court-martial and helps you in some way with the book and dies about a month before it gets published. i find that extraordinary. seemed like kind of an extraneous detail but this guy was central to the story. >> absolutely. he was the expert.
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the last living expert about "indianapolis." and was instrumental in helping us get the details. we were able to interview 100 of the survivors and rescuers. in addition to john, we had a lot of feedback from men who lived through this but he was pivotal at getting to the bottom of what happened technically and what happened with the court-marti court-martial. >> the new book is "indianapolis, the true story of the worst sea disaster in u.s. naval history" and the 50 year fight to exonerate an innocent man. thank you both for being on. we'll be right back with much more. more at at&t innovations, we give you more for your thing. here were adding tv and movies from our unlimited plan to the powerful new samsung galaxy note9... ...the perfect device for entertainment & productivity. so, it's essentially the ed helms of devices? how so?
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upper respiratory tract infection and headache may occur. tell your doctor about your medicines and if you're pregnant or planning to be. otezla. show more of you. time now for final thoughts at this end of the summer friday. willie geist, we'll start with you. >> a lot to get to. i like to point to a story we haven't yet talked about this morning. president trump sent a letter to congress suggesting a schedule 2.1% pay increase for federal employees be cancelled. he talked about physical responsibility. you remember, he helped pass a tax cut that will add an estimated $1.4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. susan. >> even in death, senator mccain is still serving his country by trying to bring us together. and i just want to say thank you for your service, senator mccain. >> amen. >> september 1st is the deadline
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that the trump legal team put to special counsel to wrap up his probe. there's no sign of course he's doing that. as much as we're watching what mueller might do in the weeks ahead, i'm watching what the white house and giuliani will do. will they attempt to stop it? will they go that much more on the offensive? >> mika. >> and as we say good-bye to the great senator john mccain this weekend, i feel like we'll be watching a tale of two men play out. hero versus coward. principled versus undisciplined. patriot versus useful idiot. leader versus bottom feeder. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage. >> thank you so much, mika. hi there, everyone, i'm stephanie ruhle with a lot to cover this morning, stating with coming out swinging. president trump's raucous rally in indiana, lashing out at big tech company, threatening to get involved with the justice
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department, and declaring he could beat president be a lincoln and a whole lot more. >> the democrats, they call themselves the resistance. they are resisting the will of the american people and trying to undermine the verdict of our democracy. they want to raid medicare to pay for socialism. fake news. fake news. fake news allies. >> mr. president, medicare is socialism. and a deal deadline. the president says he's optimistic canada will sign on to his new trade agreement to replace nafta by today under threat of even new auto tariffs, while also taking aim at another world trade accord. but here's the big question. what is the potential impact on the american worker? >> i would say the wto is the single worst trade deal ever made. and if they don't

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