independent justice department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. that department now in the hands of a staunch political ally, matt whitaker. >> what could go wrong it's a paradigm we see today he basically went out and said we're not going to let this happen at the ninth district anymore. he wanted to investigate his enemies. >> totally unqualified lackey. he does not recognize the independence of the rule of law in this country. and there's ample evidence for this both of how he wants to abuse the use of the justice department and how he wants to shut down any justice department implications that might implicate him or his associates. this is the biggest story of the trump presidency across the board. it's his disregard for democratic norms. >> it's a great story. i'm sure you will get more on the other programs that follow that does it for our hour. i'm nicolle wallace. "mpt daily" starts right now
i'm sorry, in for chuck -- >> you're fine you will get more on this show when you look at this article and read the first two paragraphs and daytoonald trump wanted to prosecute two of his enemies, which we don't do in this country, we're not a banana republic jeff sessions is no longer at the doj, it is matthew whitaker. the guardrails, the people that would push back and say no, you can't do that, so far some of those, at least, are not there any longer and it makes you wonder if he takes out all of those people who will say no to him what he will be getting done without them in place. and what matthew whitaker once he has read into the mueller investigation, if he hasn't been already, what he might be telling the white house about what is happening in that investigation. >> it makes people like rod rosenstein and his deputies the
last rule standing on the laws in this country. >> yes we will keep a close eye on this. >> i'm going to my office to watch you. >> good. i'm katy tur in for chuck todd welcome to "mpt daily. we're beginning with a stunning development. the president is sizing with the saudi regime after they murdered jamal khashoggi, after the president's own cia reportedly concluded the crown prince himself ordered the killing. in a lengthy and defiant statement, the president said -- king salman and crown prince mohammad bin salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of mr. khashoggi. our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event. maybe he did and maybe he didn't maybe he did and maybe he didn't again, we should note that the cia's assessment, according to a person briefed on it, is that he did. the president spoke to reporters just a short time ago, doubling
down on his doubts about the intelligence >> the cia has looked at it, they've studied it a lot they have nothing definitive and the fact is maybe he did, maybe he didn't. we are with saudi arabia we're staying with saudi arabia. >> if you wonder if those were his words, they were maybe he did, maybe he didn't. the president also backed up his decision to side with the saudis by relying on a series of highly dubious, if not false, claims about khashoggi and our relationship with the saudis he repeated to what amounted to saudi propaganda about khashoggi saying, quote, represents of saudi arabia say jamal khashoggi was an enemy of the state and the president portrayed the u.s. economy as a hostage to saudi arabian oil and defense contracts. >> i'm not going to destroy the world economy, and i'm not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with
saudi arabia they are paying us $400 billion plus to purchase and invest in our country. it means hundreds of thousands of jobs. we have the contracts. they wanted those contracts. that would be a big, fat beautiful gift to russia and to china. they're not going to get that gift if you want to see oil prices go to $150 a barrel, like by the way russia would love to see that, all you have to do is break up our relationship with saudi arabia >> if the president is suggesting siding with the u.s. intelligence community over the saudi's denials could destroy the world's economy, also, that $400 billion he said the saudis are paying us are basically ious so far only $14.5 billion in deals have been implemented since donald trump took office and secretary of state mike pompeo didn't have a very good answer when he was asked today, where's the rest of the money? >> some of these contracts that -- defense contracts in particular are complex, lengthy contract negotiations. we're working diligently on the
remainder of those we're very hopeful each of those commitments the kingdom of saudi arabia made to the united states to purchase equipment will be completed in a timely fashion. >> to be clear here, this is not the first administration to brush aside authoritarian regime, spotty human rights records and the pursuit of u.s. interests. but when was the last time you saw an administration sound -- sound like an authoritarian regime while they were doing that speaking of which, as we just mentioned, "the new york times" is reporting that the president told his white house counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the justice department to prosecute two of his political enemies, hillary clinton and james comey. let's get right into it. ned price is an msnbc national security analyst and former spokesperson and senior director at the national security council. he joins tonight's panel shane harris is "the washington post" intelligence and national security reporter. donna edwards, former democratic
congresswoman from maryland. and hue hewett, nbc political analyst and host of the hugh hue itt show on the salem radio network. ned, i want to start with you and what we're getting from "the new york times." we knew donald trump wasn't happy with james comey we knew donald trump didn't like hillary clinton. we knew donald trump was not happy for the doj for not doing his political well and jeff sessions not protecting him, in his words, against the russian investigation. but even as late as last spring he would try to order the doj to prosecute two of his enemies, what does that tell you? >> there's one other thing we knew, katy, and that this administration is politically vindictive whether it's going after john brennan or susan rice or security officials like admiral mccraven, who by no means is a democratic operative, this is a demonstration that has sought to wield all tools of federal government to press forward with
the president's agenda and in some cases actually advance his political advantage. just take a look at the ordering of troops to the border just before the election and sending them home, starting to dismantle their work before the caravan has even arrived here after the election is over so in one sense, it's really not surprising that we're seeing this now from "the new york times. this administration has time and again chipped away on that previously inviable wall between the worlds of policy and law enforcement that for decades has really undergirded the norm that senior white house officials don't reach down into the justice department, they don't reach down into the fbi to order prosecutions but time and again it seems this president has been interested in doing so. >> just to underscore what the reporting is here, i want to read directly from "the new york times. president trump told the white house counsel in the spring he wanted to order the justice department to prosecute two of his political adversaries. his 2016 challenger hillary clinton and former fbi director james comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation
the lawyer, don mcgann, rebuffed the president saying he had no authority to order a prosecution. mr. mcgann said while he could request an investigation, that, too, could prompt accusations of abuse of power to underscore his point, mr. mcgann had white house lawyers write a memo from mr. trump warning if he asked law enforcement to vepgt hinvestiga rivals, he could face a range of consequences including possible impeachment. the article said it's unclear whether the president actually read that memo shane, the white house lawyer who rebuffed him is don mcgann don mcgann is no longer there. jeff sessions is no longer running the doj rod rosenstein is no longer the one in charge of the mueller investigation the guardrails for this sort of behavior, this sort of presidential overreach, are quickly disappearing >> you're right about that but what also strikes me from
this "new york times" reporting is they may not have done any good to begin with if this was in the spring the president was contemplating trying to order the justice department to go after jim comey and hillary clinton, he was already under investigation by bob mueller. you would have thought by then after more than a year of experience in office and understanding some of these limits, he might have felt a bit chastened by asking something as extraordinary like directing the department of justice to do this but in a sense, you know, it is not surprising as ned said he talked openly in the campaign about going after hillary. he said if i'm elected, i'm going to have you investigated it appears he made good on that threat so in a way it's surprising and in a way it's not. these guardrails are i guess there to keep him from ultimately maybe finally doing it but the fact he was even contemplating it and had to be pulled back in this way just underscores how extraordinary this moment is that we're living in. >> hugh, are you comfortable with this? >> no, i think don mcgann did
his job. i'm a veteran of the white house counsel's office and department of justice, katy, and it is the job of the white house counsel -- andi worked for the best of them, fred fielding, to tell the president when he's wanting something he cannot have, it's the job of the attorney general to do the same. i think the reason matt whitaker got appointed is because don mcgann was gone and the new incoming counsel hasn't arrived to say there's advise and consent laws with an actor attorney general who has not passed that bearer in the senate i do, however, want to frame this if "the new york times" james comey reported about them in june of last year that they got everything wrong about their reporting about him and the investigation and the president, so while they're trying to do their best like the cia and "the washington post" and i'm colleagues with them, i am skeptical about reporting of any of these conversations i have talked enough to the president as you have, you know he spitballs, he just says stuff and don mcgann says there and says you can't do that. >> you're saying he just might
have said this in passing? hugh to push back on that, this happened this past spring according to "the new york times. there was already a lot of reporting about what the president wanted the doj to do, how he felt about the doj, how he felt like the doj wasn't his doj and he wanted to get involved in the doj. he said it himself to reporters out loud so it's not just reporters that are hearing it from sources he said it himself out loud. even if the president is saying -- >> and we don't want to conflate things >> i'm not conflating. even if the president said it in passing, it is still the president of the united states made his feeling very clear about what he wants the doj to do for him. >> the president can do a lot in directing the doj. he can investigate all sorts of things he can order the antitrust investigation, silicone valley, perfectly appropriate. he cannot order the political prosecution of a political enemy. that he cannot do. he can't conflate what he can
and can't do don mcgann did his job i'm very glad to hear that i'm not going to rush out and embroider "the new york times" report with the conclusion the president broke the law and was doing water board style of his enemies. >> i don't think he said he broke the law. he's not taking it that far. he wanted to do that and was told by his white house lawyer it wouldn't be appropriate but this is more about what the president's intent is and desire is and i'm wondering how many other presidents you know that said behind the scenes, maybe even nixon, are saying behind the scenes how they want to prosecute their political enemies they want their doj to do it? >> it shouldn't happen ever. it should never happen. >> got it. let's bring in joyce vance what are your first thoughts about this >> i think this goes to the core of our expectations about what a
president should not do. don't get to use the justice department as an apparatus of political opponents, their political enemies. i think we all should find this to be relatively shocking whether or not there's actually -- whether it was committed, i think no president who really has any appreciation of the constitution could ask these questions, let alone this kind of action being appropriate. >> joyce, we're having a little bit of a hard time hearing you hopefully you can typed a place with bit stronger connection donna, i will go to you. your first reaction to this article -- again, let's be clear, this article is not saying the president broke the law. it is not saying the president actually did order the doj it is saying he wanted to and had to be told by his white house counsel that it wouldn't be appropriate. >> and there you go to what most presidents know. most presidents already know that it's inappropriate for the white house to order even this kind of investigation on a
political opponent and keep in mind what the president said today where he tries to parse the difference between ivanka's e-mails and hillary clinton's e-mails because he still wants to carve out a pathway by which someone can go after hillary clinton and i think that, you know, we've seen over and over again where the president's allegiances are, you know, and affinities are to these authoritarian and dictatorial leaders and i think in part he's been frustrated as president that he can't just order something and it will be done, whether it's the department of justice or his other agencies. i think here you see an expression in the president that is about that kind of frustration, even as the mueller investigation is proceeding. >> let's go to michael schmidt, one of the reporters who broke the story for "the new york times. he's also an msnbc contributor michael, you're behind so many of these bylines talk to us about what you have
learned, the context surrounding the president, the president's desire to do this and how far it went. >> the interesting thing about the president is he says a lot of things publicly that if he said them privately would probably be problematic. but from a long time he's said he wanted to prosecute hillary clinton and james comey. and this spring he actually talked to the white house counsel about it in a serious way. and the white house counsel don mcgann realized this was a highly problematic thing first of all, the president did not have the power to order the justice department to prosecute someone. he can ask them to vepgt binves but even that would be highly problematic. so mcgann had the counsel's office write a memo if you want to ask the justice department to investigate people you're going to have significant consequences you're going to have a lot of problems you can be impeached for something like that. this is theme attic in the relationship between mcgann and trump where trump wants to do
things and mcgann has to stand there and either try to figure out how to do them in the case of firing comey, help him do that, or in this case where he stands up and says, you know, he can't do this. this is not a good idea. >> when you say in a serious way, having that conversation with mcgann in a serious way, what exactly do you mean by that >> the president says to his white house counsel he wants to have the justice department prosecute these two political rivals of his and mcgann said you don't have the authority to do that. this is not just trump popping off at a rally and saying, lock her up or, you know, talking about comey as a liar. this is talking to the white house counsel, the interer locketer between the administration, between the president and his justice department and someone who has been mcgann at the center of all of these instances that are being investigated for obstruction, mcgann was the person there with the president and advising him, counseling him on whether he could take certain measures like
firing comey or trying to get jeff sessions to recuse himself, unrecuse himself in the russian investigation. mcgann was always in the middle of this mess. >> what specifically did he want to prosecute hillary clinton and james comey for? >> he wanted to prosecute comey for leaking classified information. the president has claimed comey had classified information leaked to us at "the new york times" when we reported in may of 2017 that trump had asked comey to end the investigation into mike flynn, and there's no classified information in a memo that that was written in but the president has claimed that and with hillary, the president has long talked about the fact that she should be investigated for how she handled her e-mails, for how that was done. he believes she should have been prosecuted for that and he's also complained more recently about the fact the fbi director, chris ray, will not go after her
on uranium one, the longstanding push by the conversationtivservt the clintons' ties to a uranium company. >> it's interesting he's talking about and wants to prosecute hillary clinton for her e-mail use about today's reporting about ivanka in asking his lawyer whether he can do this or saying he wanted to do this, what else did you learn about how donald trump feels right now about his doj, and you mentioned briefly about christopher wray at the fbi, how does he feel about those two agencies >> you know, the thing is that trump now has a loyalist at the top of the justice department, someone that people at the top of the justice department would say should never be the attorney general, someone who does not have the experience or background to be leading the justice department but it's someone who the president thinks will be loyal to him so that gives the president enormous amount of power the other thing mcgann is gone,
he left the white house a month ago and he was someone that tried to stop the president from doing some things like this. in this sthainstance trying to him from this. so the guardrail eroded somewhat there were more guardrails at the beginning of the presidency and eroded mcgann had been there from the campaign through the presidency and is now gone. >> without jeff sessions at the doj, without rod rosenstein being in charge of the mueller investigation, as you say, donald trump now has a loyalist in matthew whitaker, does that mean he believes matthew whitaker's going to protect him against robert mueller >> well, one small clarification, rosenstein still oversees the mueller investigation. he's still overseeing it in the chain of command there the difference is now is there's someone above him, so on big decisions, they'll go to the person above him but rosenstein is still overseeing it as he had been before so the question is, if the
president wanted there to be a second special counsel to look into hillary clinton or look into jim comey, would whitaker be the person to do that would he take that measure something that sessions would not do would whitaker go forward with something like that? those are the concerns around some people around the white house and obviously democrats on the hill. >> we have been reporting that the president, and he's been talking about it with reporters, the president has filled out written answers to the questions that were provided to him by the special counsel's office it was unclear when he was going to submit them to the special counsel's office they did say before thanksgiving we do have reporting right now that nbc news can confirm that the president's answers have been submitted to the special counsel's office joyce, if you're still with us, and hopefully you have slightly better service, i want to ask y about that, and if this reporting comes out and the president is asking for his justice department or wanting
his justice department to prosecute james comey, james comey is a witness against him in the mueller investigation for obstruction. does that amount to witness intimidation >> it could certainly be construed that way it will be something that the special counsel will want to look into fuller one thing that we don't know is everything that mueller does know so it's entirely possible that he's already aware of this and has been looking into it all along as part of his investigation. >> the president has now submitted his answers. they're only written answers he said he wasn't answering anything on obstruction. joyce, is this enough for the special counsel? >> i think it's highly unlikely that this is enough. look, katy, prosecutors don't like this idea of getting written questions. but on the same sort of line of thinking, mueller does have this obligation to try to get any evidence that he can that's necessary for his investigation.
so it's likely that he will take a look at these answers, that they will evaluate whether they're sufficient or not and whether any additional steps like a subpoena are necessary to round out the investigation. >> i will read you a statement from the counsel to the president. the president today answered written questions submitted by the special counsel's office the questions presented with issues regarding the russia-related topics of the inquiry. the president responded in writing. from counsel of the president. rudy giuliani added another statement where he said special counsel has been provided with more than 30 witnesses, 1.4 million pages of material and now the president's written response to questions, it's time to bring this inquiry to a conclusion michael schmidt, any of your reporting show this will come to a conclusion any time soon we don't have schmidt any longer shane harris, any of your reporting show this special counsel investigation reporting from "the washington post" that it could come to a conclusion any time soon? >> i don't know how soon but i think we all feel this is kind of entering a final stage at
this point certainly the president's written questions, our understanding, was something the special counsel obviously did not have and was trying to lock down i think there's always been a sense that once that was completed, we would be moving into that final phase. now there's still the question of an interview. but one thing i've learned in covering this investigation now for a couple of years is always stay humble. you never know exactly where mueller's going to take it next. i would say this feels like it's coming nearer to the conclusion. it doesn't feel like we're in the middle of this investigation anymore. >> ned, court reporters have been staked out at the clerk's office down there in d.c. for the appellate courts, and they've been watching as motions get filed. there's one field set of filings they've been keeping an eye on there's also another filing today that has been sealed that people are interested in what is your feeling about and
your, i guess, educated guess about what we could see soon and what might be on the horizon >> well, there's been a lot of speculation about that sealed filings. it seems the initial speculation that perhaps president trump had already been subpoenaed was off. there may be another senior white house official who had been in receipt of a subpoena. but we just don't know and that i think encompasses a lot of the mueller probe at this stage. i think the next step will come in the special counsel's office's retort to these written answers. will they be enough for this special counsel? did president trump decline to answer any question? and, remember, this is just on russian meddling this is not yet delving into in some ways broader question and closer to president trump, the question of obstruction of justice. so i think the next turn of the crank will come from the special counsel's office and it may be something we see, especially if
there is a subpoena fight. and i think there's every expectation the subpoena fight will go all the way up to the supreme court, given the gravity and stakes of this or it could be something that goes on in private, in sealed filings. with so much at this stage of the investigation, we don't know >> what could matthew whit keakr tell the trump administration that he finds out about the special investigation if he is briefed on it? >> matthew whitaker, in addition to being in charge of every major investigative step that the special counsel now wants to take as michael schmidt was alluding to, matthew whitaker could well have been briefed on the grand jury testimony, for example, what the special counsel's office has uncove uncovered, be intelligence investigation provided by the cia, by the fbi. so matthew whitaker in theory at least does have pretty expansive access to all of these filings unless and until he recuses
himself. for that reason it was senator chuck schumer today, i believe, who asked that the justice department provide answers as to what, if anything, matthew whitaker has been briefed on and in turn what if anything he's shared with the white house. matthew whitaker was installed in this position in large part, i think at least, he as the white house described him was its eyes and ears. they described him as their spy in the justice department. it would not be beyond them to leverage matthew whitaker, who now sets atop the justice department and in theory has access to all of these feelings, to use that access to their advantage. >> let's bring in mimi roca, former federal prosecutor and msnbc media analyst. to tie this together, "the new york times" reporting donald trump wanted and asked a lawyer about the doj prosecuting two of his political enemies, one of which is an witness in the obstruction portion of the case against him in the russian
investigation, go investigation, if it is against him. how does robert mueller look at today's reporting? do you believe it's not news to robert mueller donald trump asked this >> well, katy, there's a couple of different points there. those are all great questions. i think first of all, robert mueller probably looks at it like the rest of us, which is on the one hand it's not surprising but it should be shocking. the fact the president is trying to use his powers in this way to use the department of justice to investigate, prosecute, not even investigate but prosecute his political opponents, this is such a new threshold i know he sort of talked about it before but this means he was really seriously thinking about it in terms of the mueller investigation, he did, we know, question don mcgann extensively. although mcgann was acting as a lawyer when he gave him this advice, according to the report. so there's a question about privilege here and whether he would have been able to testify to this. but i think this goes in the
bucket that we've been talking about of things that are now -- the bucket is very full of things that over and over again, this president does to try and interfere with the mueller investigation. and whether it be, you know, through firing comey or firing essentially the attorney general or trying to investigate people who might be witnesses against him and so many more, it becomes part of a pattern. i have to believe that that is going to be very relevant to mueller. but putting aside that investigation, i think it really should just be shocking to us, if not surprising, that the president was trying to do this or at least seriously thinking about it. >> hugh, donald trump has kind of taken a hands-off approach to matthew whitaker in the way that he's spoken about him. he's called him a stand-up guy he said that he's going to do his job. he also said he would give him the authority to do whatever he wants to do at the doj in terms
of the russian investigation but he knew he would do the right thing. a little different than he spoke with jeff sessions or rod rosenstein why do you think that is >> i think he's making a huge mistake. he's hoping the change will re-energize the department of justice in a lot of ways but as one of our earlier guests said, rod rosenstein is still running the mueller investigation and the key takeaway today is the president did answer the questions. it hearkens back to the deal ken starr did with bill clinton where they are negotiated an agreement on how the president would testify. those answers, by the way, put the president in peril of 18 usc 1001, and every prosecutor on the panel will say if he's done anything wrong that mueller had, he committed a crime that is the big deal i'm looking for. but matt whitaker as acting attorney general is not tenable. here's my reporting, the president's friends on capitol hill are telling him he needs a real attorney general. he cannot get by with the accounting attorney general. it doesn't help him. it hurts him every day
it allows conversations like this to go forward he needs to go find a bill barr or toughest, smartest lawyer out there and put him on the top of the fifth floor at the department of justice and let him apply the law of the constitution matt whitaker does not have what you need to go through advice and consent. article one is very serious about that but the key thing today is the president cooperated again, he answered the questions and those answers are going to become, that's what mueller's poring over tonight he and his team are looking at everything they got on this shelf and they're comparing it to everything that came in, in those answers. they are say fg there's a discrepancy we have something to put in the report to congress about what the president has done. >> we don't know how extensively he's cooperating we know he answered some questions, none of which are on obstruction. we don't know if that's all the special counsel was asking donald trump remember, we're only getting one side of this, this is from donald trump and his lawyers, not coming directly from the
special counsel. we should keep that in mind. yes, they do at least have some answers from the president of the united states. it's been a long time coming i know there was talk among his personal lawyers back in thanksgiving of 2017 about how this would be over soon and how they would wrap this all up. so we will see what happens next ned, shane, donna, stay with us. a lot more breaking news when we come back. fact is, there have been twenty-six in the last decade. allstate is adapting. with drones to assess home damage sooner. and if a flying object damages your car, you can snap a photo and get your claim processed in hours, not days. plus, allstate can pay your claim in minutes. now that you know the truth... are you in good hands? tailored recommendations, tax-efficient investing strategies,
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that's it! this feud just went mobile. with xfinity xfi you get the best wifi experience at home. and with xfinity mobile, you get the best wireless coverage for your phone. ...you're about to find out! you don't even know where i live... hello! see the grinch in theaters by saying "get grinch tickets" into your xfinity x1 voice remote. a guy just dropped this off. he-he-he-he. welcome back more on the other big breaking news story as the president sides with the saudis over his intelligence community on the killing of journalist jamal khashoggi. we're back with mimi, ned, shane, donna, welcome back let's get into the statement the president released today on saudi arabia, which he said listen, our relationship with saudi arabia, and i'm paraphrasing here, our business relationship with them outweighs
any humanitarian worries or costs we might have. outweighs themurder of a journalist who lived on american soil he didn't say it in such blunt terms but that's ultimately what it boils down to there has been pushback from a number of lawmakers including some republicans lindsey graham, who's been pretty adamant about the saudis' wrongdoing here, has issued a statement where he frames it, frankly, donald trump might listen to saying here's what i learned from the obama administration about what not to do when you're dealing with the middle east. he says, i fully realize we have to deal with bad actors and imperfect situations on the international stage. however, when we lose our moral voice, we lose our strongest asset. shane, give me your first reaction to what the president did today in terms of saudi arabia and what this means for our leadership around the world. >> well, i think even for a
president who generally equates foreign policy and global decision making with business transactions, this was a pretty stark display of his kind of baseline calculation, where as i think you accurately laid it out, that he's saying on the one hand we have this killing of the journalist, which he did call a crime. on the other hand, they buy hundreds of billions of dollars in defense items for us and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, putting aside those are wildly inflated and dubious numbers, what the president is essentially saying is the balance i side with the economic and national security interest in terms of saudi arabia as a check on iran. i think what's interesting here, lindsey graham was kind of framing this correctly no one is saying, including the president's critics, blow up the relationship with saudi arabia suss spent all aid cancel everything. ditch the relationship but there are things he can do to put special on the saudi leadership, to come out and
condemn them, even though the cia said mohammad bin salman was directly responsible for murdering the journalist, something we reported, "the new york times," cnn, nbc, a lost of people confirmed this. he's still coming down to this more economicali calculation it's troubling to a lot of us. but in some ways this is not surprising, this is where we always felt he would come down for him, his relationship with the saudis is deeply personal. he doesn't want to be seen going against mohammad bin salman and he's having trouble separating this as my personal relationship with mbs and his father versus what's in the nation's natural interest. >> there are so many ways to go with this story, and we will try to get with them all, but let's focus on what the president said in terms of the deal he wants to protect with the saudis. he's talking about a $450
billion armed deal that's not correct that's not what is in place. it's basically an iou, promissory note from the saudis they're eventually going to buy these arms so far only $14.5 billion has been spent and the president says he's worried if we don't maintain a good relationship with the saudis, they're going to go to china or russia the problem with that is they can't just go to china or russia and pick up a new arms deal because the arms they bought for us, they're not compatible with russian or chinese systems it's a very simplified metaphor. it's like having a mac and buying all pc software so, shane, break down the misconception here on the arms deal. >> first the way the defense procurement cycle works. we will get down the weeds here for a second these are contracts that extend over multiple years,they may b
commitments to buy certain equipment that is then transferred is actually the way we talk about this it does not mean the saudis are about to sit down and write a check to the u.s. treasury for $450 billion that's not how this works. some of these kcommitments were even negotiated under the previous administration. these are on long timetables the way these things work out, murders and acquisitions the way things get done and settled. to the point of him claiming hundreds of thousands of jobs, i think that's a new claim today consistently, you've seen the president increase the value, increase the benefit to the economy of this deal with the saudis, and to say hundreds of thousands of jobs, it's just not true all experts will tell you, i think, that the impact to the economy in terms of jobs lost, if we suddenly just cancel the contracts, would be marginal it's not as if a huge portion of
the gdp is going to be taken out of the ledger by this. which is not to say there are not jobs that might be jeopardized by this but you're talking about people who might be bending sheet metal in a factory where f-15s are made, not talking about ripping the guts out of the industrial base in this country by canceling contracts or delaying the contracts, which is what some people, including republicans on the hill, have been suggesting delay it for a time as a form of punishment and send a message to the saudis saying look, you can't get away with this kind of behavior on the global stage. >> the other part of it is he's again just brushing off an assessment by his own intelligence community hugh, the other example you know of this, we all know well, donald trump was saying maybe it's not russia that attacked our elections in 2016. maybe it was china maybe it was a 400-pound man in his mother's basement. he's come around to it more recently but he still questions it and he still throws in a number of other possibilities rather than russia, which is the
assessment and conclusion of our intelligence agencies and has been for some time now he's doing the same thing with the cia. the cia has concluded that mbs was behind this murder this has been reporting -- this has been reported by our news outlet, nbc news, among a number of others, including "the new york times" and "the washington post." why is donald trump brushing off an assessment by his own intelligence community >> well, i have to be cautious here because the cia sometimes is wrong, as it was with its national intelligence about iran's weapons of mass destruction in 2007. sometimes great colleagues, loo like my colleagues at nbc, get fed by the cia an assessment incomplete to advance a conspiracy -- >> are you saying this is a conspiracy to lie to the press and attack the president >> there is often -- oh, my gosh, the agency often -- ask david ago nashs at "the washington post," they often put out something they want. >> are you saying all reporters
do this at cia, "the washington post," "the new york times" and all of the other networks? >> not duped i would defer to shane to talk about how the agency views it but we were not duped -- >> the intelligence from turks and others but go on. >> katy, it's very possible khashoggi was ordered murdered by mbs what the president said today going to the helicopter was put in context the saudi arabia relationship is very important in the second paragraph it the real enemy, the middle east iran, greatest terrorist in the world and murdered hundreds of americans in iraq. saudi arabia matters because they're in alliance with uae, jordan, egypt, israel and the united states. mbs is not saudi arabia. you heard people like lindsey graham and the others tell the president, don't be too invested in the crown prince but he's being very strategic the president obama what aboutism coming up here.
when president obama goes to cuba and put his arms around fidel castro, he had to do that. when richard nixon shook hands with mao, that was the bloodiest of the 20th century. i wish he said maybe he did, maybe he didn't but if he did i'm persuaded the magnistsky act will be applied to the crown prince that's what i would have liked to have seen. >> we will also point out saudi arabia used propaganda for jamal khashoggi who was a journalist living in the united states and worked for "the washington post," the saudis called him an enemy of the united states and repeated that in thinks statement today talking about why he would not do anything to punish saudi arabia for the killing of jamal khashoggi he said, he repeated saudi propaganda by saying he was an enemy of the state i bring this up specifically because the president often calls members of the press here in america the enemy of the people that sort of thing is being
adopted by authoritarian leaders around the world and it's -- donald trump's own language that's being adopted by authoritarian leaders. that's certainly new we have not had a president of the united states be an example for authoritarian regimes around the world. donna, what do you think about that >> look, the president of the united states failed to acknowledge the brutal murder of jamal khashoggi, a u.s. resident, an employee of a u.s. company on foreign soil. all of the intelligence really supports the fact that it wasn't just some rogue agents in turkey, it was ordered by mbs. the united states can have a relationship with saudi arabia that makes very clear, that doesn't mean we have to have a relationship with mbs. there are a whole line of royals who could become the next head of saudi arabia. and the united states needs to make that clear. and be very clear about these
defense relationships, which can be stretched over time, are stretched over time and can be delayed. i think there's a bipartisan group that's developing in the congress that if the president isn't going to hold saudi arabia accountable and hold mbs accountable, the congress of the united states will, i believe. and i think that this is really outrageous and for the president to suggest, in fact, that somehow this is just what it is, we have the secretary of state saying it is what it is. the president of the united states saying, you know, well, that's -- you know, it's mean and nasty or the reverse i think this is unacceptable the united states has more important relationship with the rest of the world, which is to send a signal that this is not the kind of thing we tolerate and we won't tolerate that kind -- those kinds of gross human rights violations, even in the face of money. and to me saying that our oil prices will go up, it's like
okay, that was the price of a human life it was blood money for oil and i think it's unacceptable. >> it's like reagan said, are we going to be a shining city upon a hill that's the question. i just want to end with one thing. and this is a tweet from one of my colleagues, richard engel, who you all know, has been reporting in war zones and in authoritarian regimes now for almost his entire career he says, journalists and press freedom campaigners tell me president trump's stance on khashoggi's murder sends a message to anyone in position of power that it is okay to kill their critics as long as they call them enemies of the people. with that, ned price, mimi roca, sorry we didn't get to you but thank you very much. panelists, stay with us. gimme two minutes. and i'll tell you some important things to know about medicare. first, it doesn't pay for everything. say this pizza... is your part b medical expenses. this much - about 80 percent...
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>> let's move on from "the new york times" and talk about the other big story, ivanka and her private e-mails. before we do that, i want a quick update on a conversation with had with nancy pelosi yesterday. we talked about marcy fudge running against her for speaker of the house fudge just released a statement she will not do so that's a little bit of news. on to the ivanka e-mail drama. shane, ivanka using her private e-mail, i seem to remember donald running against hillary clinton by bashing her use of a private e-mail server. >> yes, i guess ivanka doesn't remember that. it's a remarkable story. the explanation that somehow she didn't understand what the rules were on private e-mailsort of defies belief. where was she in 2016? this is obviously the white
house has been trying all day to say this doesn't compare to the scale of hillary clinton, she had more e-mails, ivanka had fewer. hillary clinton had a server in the basement, ivanka didn't. it seems to me if that's your explanation, you're losing the argument it should have been abundantly clear to ivanka or anyone working in the trump administration or anywhere in the government, it was a bad idea to have a private e-mail system >> and yet she did it anyway it wasn't just her, jared kushner as well. early on others in the administration using their private e-mails early on donna, i mean am i reading this wrong? is there a generous way to read this you just really not know the rules or think it's okay to use a private server period? defend ivanka here. >> i'm not it's totally unbelievable that ivanka, close to the campaign, can come out or just watching television, can come out and not know the dangers of using a private e-mail
and to say it's not on a private server is not entirely clear because it's on a public server, which could be worse. >> microsoft. >> yes she also said it wasn't deemed classified later until they did a review of it hillary clinton was secretary of state so the port phyllo wfolio. but ivanka does have in her portfolio, she was at the opening in jerusalem, in a meeting with the delegation before she was even named white house adviser. she sat in for her father, donald trump, i think it was at the g20 and took his seat. so she definitely has some interactions with fleernds
is it too much to think, donna, she might have some potentially sensitive information on her e-mail >> we don't know now but you know who is going to find out? chairman elijah cummings come january. he's going to find out the answer to that question. we don't know. those e-mails have to be sifted through and it's not acceptable her lawyer said you can look at these but you can't look at the others >> two former staffers with loyalists to the trumps, here's what they said we do not have that sound bite unfortunately. but they both said it was hypocritical what do you think? >> i think it's a bad mistake by ivanka trump because everyone who's close to the president is a target of hostile nation state actors and sometimes criminal syndicates for all of their e-mail
that's not the criminal statute about classified information, but if you're using private e-mail, you are breaking the law. >> i don't know. i was on theki campaign trail, didn't need a briefing to know you can't use your private e-mail if you work for the government or you work for the white house and you're talking about white house business. shane, that is the explanation from the white house.
does ivanka trump still deserve ank job within the white house? is thiswi going to imperil her position in any way? >> i don't know if it will imperil her position or not. itr seems like the political backlash so this has been kind of issubdued today. maybe because ubeveryone's out townev for thanksgiving. i think donna's right that the house oversight committee is poised to take this up when they come back, when the new congrese convenes. hugh's right too in the sense of this idea that somebody in ivanka trump's position could bo a foreign intelligence target, somebody whosein e-mail you mig want to get in. nott to see if she has any classified documents but to see what she's chattering about or iftt she tells somebody via personal e-mail, i had a conversation with my dad today about something that's a policy consequence. she's number one in the westol wing, number two close to the president, in a senior position in the white house, number three, the president's daughter. thosere are all reasons that sh should have defensively not bees using thens e-mail. again, to your point about being on the campaign, i'm having
trouble imagining how when, while working in theho white house, ivanka trump is typing outho e-mails on a personal e-ml account, she doesn't stop and say, huh, why does this seem familiar?he d why shouldn't i be doing this? >> it fits a larger pattern of the trump administration and this family in particular saying theam rules don't apply to us. donald trump railedt against hillary clinton for her private server but he still, according to multiple news outlets, is using an unsecured phone of his own to call his friends and talk about the day. which could be, obviously, overheard by a number of foreign powers if they hack into his phone, h since it's not secured. so that's anothert question. we'll get t to that another tim. shane, donna, hugh, thank you guys very much, and we will be right back.hugh
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that will do it for me. i'm tipi daly. "the beat with ari melber" starts right now. breaking news on the most significant legal scandal to hit this white house since the report that donald trump tried to fire bob mueller. this is truly a bombshell. president donald trump tried to order the justice department to prosecute not one but two of his biggest adversaries, hillary clinton and james comey. this story breaking in the "new york times" late today. the story is that in the spring, donald trump told his white house counsel, don mcgahn, that he wanted the doj officials to explicitly prosecute hillary clinton and james comey.