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tv   MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi  MSNBC  November 21, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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and this problem's name is climate change. that wraps things up for me this hour. ali -- >> there you are being a radical again. >> i'm going to go on a different subject and move on. earlier today i saw you bent over a pecan pie, stuffing it into your face. >> i've been eating a lot today. >> what have you had in the intervening hours? >> it's like i'm in a contest. i had a burger, disco fries with gravy and cheese, a liquid type, and then i had boneless wings in addition to the pecan pie and a coke zero. it's either that i'm entering a contest or this may be my last meal. something weird is going on. >> i'm not shaming you. i'm jealous. >> you're calling me out. we all have to hold each other accountable. i'm eating like it's a thanksgiving party for the staff, but there was no staff. but i really enjoyed it as much as they all would have. i don't know my excuse. there's no thing happening that i should be eating this much,
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but it was fun. >> maybe you're pregnant. >> that thought did occur to me when i got to the wings i thought maybe i'm pregnant. that has yet to be confirmed. i don't know. we don't want to disclose that. >> it's a breaking news story. >> that could be breaking news. >> we should probably end this. >> have a great afternoon. it's a good thing this portion of this show is taped so it can be edited. >> good afternoon. an independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for. that's a statement from chief justice john roberts. the timing coincides with a bomb shell report from the new york times. another example of trump's vision of a very personal justice department. "the times" reports the president wanted to order the justice department to prosecute his rivals, hillary clinton and former fbi director james comey. and when he posed the idea to then white house counsel don
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mcgahn, mcgahn rejected the proposal and wrote a memo warning that trump could face a range of consequences, including itch peachment. now mcgann is gone. whitaker's views on clinton have been clear to the media on several occasions. he wrote an op ed in 2016 titled i would indikt hillary clinton. for the latest joining me now is white house correspondent kelly o'donnell. also with us intelligence and national security reporter ken delaney. kelly, this is interesting. the report is that the president asked his white house counsel and the white house counsel thought to memorialize it in a memo to say no, you can't ask for a prosecution. you can't even ask for an investigation of your political rivals in america. >> many a memo to document this for history for his own
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protection, and to educate the president on his views on this matter. of course, we know don mcgahn did cooperate and submit for an interview with the mueller team and documents that might be deemed relevant would be a part of that. we don't know if this specific document is possessed by the mueller team. but that would be within the realm of foreseeable things. and he describes a situation in which according to the reporting by "the new york times" the president views the department of justice as his legal fixer, much in the way that when he was businessman, donald trump had a michael cohen on board among many lawyers that he employed for the large trump organization, but there were elements of his legal team as a private businessman who did this fixing sort of thing when problems would come up. you almost sense that that's the president's view as he looks at the department of justice. from what we know from this new york times reporting mcgahn was able to quiet that impulse from the president.
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we have seen in other instances where the president has also thrashed about in brainstorming ideas like firing mueller or firing the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. those things have not come to pass despite reports about that being a long standing interest of the president's. we don't know where the president's thinking is right now. let me take you back to the campaign trail and the debates between then candidate donald trump and secretary hillary clinton and how he talked about the way that she could be brought into the justice system. you get a sense of the president's thinking back then. here's that clip. >> it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of donald trump is not in charge of the law in our country. >> because you'd be in jail. >> do you want the second bite? >> reporter: also we know that the new acting attorney general matt whitaker went from at one point being a pundit to being in an important role at least on a
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temporary basis. he's opined in the former life about his views on the likelihood of these kinds of investigations. here's this clip from whitaker. >> well, you know it is pretty interesting that we don't have a special counsel appointed for the whole former secretary of state having an illegal e-mail server in her house, and we appoint a special counsel with zero evidence of any ties between russia and russian nationals and the trump campaign. black is white and white is black. >> reporter: questions by chris wallace, the president said he was not aware of some of the things that whitaker had said in his pundit days about the russia investigation, for example. but curiously enough, the president's choice to run the department of justice has views that seem very much in line with what we believe the president's thinking to be on issues like
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potential investigation of a hillary clinton or a james comey, and those this morninngs course, raise a lot of red flags for people who say the president should keep more than an arm's length distance. >> very much in line. almost perfectly in line. ken, i want to run some tape of the president saying that he didn't know whitaker and did know whitaker to underscore this point. let's listen. >> you know, the saddest thing is that because i'm the president of the united states, i am not supposed to be involved with the justice department. i'm not supposed to be involved with the fbi. i'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things that i would love to be doing, and i'm very frustrated by it. i look at what's happening with the justice department. why aren't they doing after hillary clinton with her e-mails and with her -- thes to cdossie and the kind of money. m matt whitaker is a great guy. >> there are lots of examples of
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the president saying he didn't know him and he did know him. matt whitaker goes on tv and says what he thinks about the mueller investigation, hillary clinton investigation. he writes about it. tell me how this fits in. the president knew matt whitaker and what he would do as attorney general. it's completely in line with his thinking about how he should go after his opponents>> it is. and that speaks to the defense that some of the president's defenders have been saying. the benign view is he was just spit balling ideas out of ignorance. he doesn't understand the legal traditions in this country or that the justice department is not his political fixer. he was throwing around ideas and mcgahn batted it down and everything is fine. appointing matthew whitaker, calling for the prosecution of hillary clinton, suggests that's not the case at all. that donald trump knows exactly what he's doing. that he wants somebody in charge
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of the justice department who thinks the way he does, and he wants the justice department to carry out these investigations. and that, as we've discussed before, that's not consistent with american legal tradition. and that's why the chief justice made the comment that he did, because he wants to underscore that the judiciary is independent in the country. it's one of the things that makes america great, independent justice department, and donald trump is taking direct aim at that in a lot of people are deeply concerned. >> yeah. this is definitely an area where it crosses into getting deeply concerned about the president and potential manipulation of the justice department. thank you both for your reporting and analysis. trump's lawyer rudy giuliani has given his stamp of approval to this telling the hill in an exclusive report, of course hillary clinton should be investigated. we reached out to rudy giuliani. no response yet. i want to bring in elliot williams and charlie savidge. welcome to both of you. thank you for being here.
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elliot, 330 roughly million americans and donald trump seems to have found the one who went out of his way to write opinions that completely suit donald trump's -- i'm going to say it -- perverse view of the relationship between the department of justice and the president of the united states. >> yeah. and it's striking today with the story about john roberts issuing a statement about trump's attacks on the judiciary. it goes from the way the president seems to view the ju dirve ri and the way the president seems to view the prosecutors and the executive branch. they're there to do his bidding. kelly o'donnell used the word fixer. when they fail to do that, they're the objects of ridicule or the subjects of being terminated as you saw with jeff sessions. that's unfortunate. it's clear now that matt whitaker cannot effectively lead the justice department. what this is reminding me of, alberto gonzalez is a hero because of comments he made on
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cnn. let's not forget at the end of his tenure as attorney general he lost the respect of congress and the american people weren't behind him anymore. it seems -- and frankly, it seems like the justice department wasn't either. it seems like we're now nearing a period in the justice department where the individual on top just isn't fit to lead on the basis of conflicts and the basis of everything he brings. and we haven't even seen the congressional investigations that are going to start in early january. it's just a mess they've created, and it seems like there's no end in site. >> charlie, you're written thousands of pages on presidents who wish to expand their authority legally or under legal question. i want to read to you from the new york times the quote about mcgahn telling trump, writing this memo to trump. mcgahn had white house lawyers write a memo for mr. trump
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warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment. we don't know how much mcgahn writes things down. writing down it could result in impeachment is serious business. >> it is, and it's something that could have come back to haunt trump later if, indeed, he had disregarded that advice and proceeded to order the justice department to open these political criminal investigations that he wanted. i think the big take away from that is that that was then and this is now. don mcgahn is not in the white house anymore. i'm not sure he would have consider himself a champion of the resistance, exactly. for whatever check and balance force he imposed on the president, that is gone now. and in the same way that jeff
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sessions was the idea of a neutral person and yet he seems to have not done everything the white house wanted, now there's matt whitaker there. we're entering a new era -- >> you make an interesting point. no one has ever accused jeff sessions of being a liberal on any front nor don mcgahn. these are conservatives. the bigger question to elliot is we thought there were adults in the room who protected the president from his worst impulses. i think it's fair to say, i'm not stretching as a journalist to say, suggesting the department of justice prosecute your political rivals is one of the worst impulses a president can have. and it's not clear from what charlie said that we have people to protect the president and by extension the country from this. >> don mcgahn was the grownup in the room. because the most fascinating thing there was there's the question of should you investigate versus should you prosecute. now, certainly -- >> that's an interesting and important distinction.
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they are different. >> yeah, and don mcgahn said look, you could seek to investigate someone, but you ought not to do that. the fact that you have the power to do something as a prosecutor, this is the essence of discretion. it means that -- just because you have the power doesn't mean you should do it. and potentially it could be an impeachable offense if you're going after enemies in an unlawful manner. there was a question saying the president is being saved by the people around him. but we don't know who is around him right now and if they're saving him in himself. it's clear that the president's impulses are to violate the rule of law and step beyond the bounds of what the law or facts in any reasonable case would allow. these are tricky times in the white house and for people who care about the stability of government and the stability of the rule of law. >> charlie, let me ask you about this. the two of you understand the nuances of what a president can do and what a white house can
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do, and charlie, you've written so much about presidents who interpret the constitution and law in a way that perhaps gives them more power than congress would like them to have or the american public would like them to have. this crosses all those lines. this is a completely different thing. this isn't a question of interpreting the constitution to determine what sort of authority the president has. there's nobody. there's nobody who thinks this is a good idea, that the president should be able to go around investigate and prosecute his political rivals without the cause that would cause you to call the police or the fbi to accuse somebody of a crime. >> i mean, this has been a resonating theme for a long time with this president. remember, we keep saying in this conversation, investigate. but i think the real core of this was a contemplating a direction to the justice department to bring charges. to indict. there had been an investigation of hillary clinton and her e-mails with jim comey and his press conference. we were beyond investigation here. this was you are going to bring charges. that's what he wanted to do and
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that's what don mcgahn drew a line in the sand about apparently. this is part and parcel of a larger theme that's resonating around the russia investigation and some of the memos that have come out about that as well. where the president and the people around him to some extent are really pushing at the bounds of what people think a president can do or at least what a president in american history has until now done to try to wiggle out of some of these situations he's finding himself in. >> that historic point is an important one. i don't think -- we haven't seen this in the modern era. this is nixon like. it's going after rivals -- >> but i thought we sorted that out. i thought back then we saw everybody in the world saw that and said that's not the way we do things. >> it didn't particularly well for richard nixon. it's hard to see where this goes. i don't know if -- whatever. i'm not going to go there. we've been down this road before. it's an ugly place for america. >> i appreciate your analysis. elliot williams and charlie
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savidge. back to the story we mentioned at the start of the hour and elliot mentioned a moment ago. the rare criticism against donald trump from john roberts, the republican appointed the head of the supreme court. this isn't the first time the president has blasted federal judges who ruled against his administration, but it is the first time chief justice roberts has actually spoken out against the current president, and this is what prompted the rebuke. >> your policy has been put on hold. >> well, you go to the ninth circuit. it's a disgrace. i'm going to put in a major complaint. you cannot win if you're a case in the ninth circuit. this was an obama judge, and i'll tell you what. it's not going to happen like this anymore. >> with me now justice correspondent pete williams who has been covering the courts and knows really intimately how justices think about the commentary, particularly they make in public, particularly about a president.
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pete, this is unusual. >> well, it's unusual for several reasons. john roberts is a very restrained, cautious sort of person. his public statements are well thought out. so for him to respond directly to a statement by the president is unusual in itself. this was a response that the associated press saw it, and very quickly got this written statement from the chief justice. here's what he said. we do not have obama judges or trump judges. bush judges or clinton judges. what we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their best with what's before them. all judges hate it when you suggest that a judge made a decision based on the president that appointed him or her. when you go to judicial conferences and ask what is it we as reporters do that bug you, that's what they say. this is always sort of a red flag to any judge anywhere when you say well, this was an obama
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judge, so what else are you going to get? the president is right. his record has not been good in the ninth circuit on the travel ban and lots of other issues. shopping for a forum where you think you might get a favorable rule, however, is something that people on both sides of the political spectrum do. so setting all that aside, i think what makes this interesting and newsworthy is the fact that the chief justice after hearing lots of comments from donald trump about judges decided today was the day to respond. >> but the attack wasn't on him. right? that's interesting. >> correct. >> he was talking about judges. he was sort of speaking on behalf of all the judges who probably don't have the same security as the chief justice of the supreme court to take on the president. >> well, true. he -- now, donald trump has criticized john roberts in the past during the campaign he was critical of john roberts for casting a vote in favor of
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obamacare. but today -- today's response was not to something criticizing chief justice roberts or the supreme court, but as the chief justice, john roberts felt the need to respond. >> all right. pete, good to see you. thank you as always. pete williams. up next, head into thanksgiving the cdc issues a warning. don't eat any romaine lettuce. if you have it, throw it out and clean any surface it touched. what you need to do to protect yourself and your family. hey dad. if he'd taken tylenol, he'd be stopping for more pills right now. only aleve has the strength stop tough pain for up to 12 hours with just one pill. tylenol can't do that. aleve. all day strong. all day long. now introducing aleve back and muscle pain, for up to 12 hours of pain relief with just one pill.
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a warning from the centers for disease control two days before the busiest eating day of the year. throw out all your romaine lettuce. it doesn't matter the brand. throw it away. look at why they're issuing this major food safety alert. the cdc says it's because of an outbreak of e. coli. the problem is that they don't know where the bacteria came from which is why they're telling people to throw the lettuce out. all of it, not just a particular brand or batch. on top of throwing it out, they want you to wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where it was stored. you got to clean up everything it's touched. we know at least 32 people have gotten sick in 11 states since october from the same strain of e e. coli linked to the romaine. at least one person has suffered kidney failure and 13 others were hospitalized.
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this isn't just in the united states. i think i just -- over here. you can see it's affecting people, 18 people in ontario and québec have been affected. six of them have been hospitalized. the numbers are likely to increase. the fda says the contaminated lettuce is likely still on the market. there's more. it's with dr. john torez, our medical correspondent. john, this is fascinating. we've talked about a lot of stories. i have a bowl here of romaine lettuce. i've never hold ro stain lettuce in a bowl. they tell you not to touch it. >> that e. coli can spread quickly and is hard to get rid of. what you notice in romaine lettuce, they think it's affected because it's open. water can get in there. iceberg lettuce is in heads. >> the stuff can get in. contaminated water can get inside the lettuce. iceberg lettuce has essentially
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a shell of leaves. >> they're saying they don't know where this happened and the fda came out today and said they think it might have started in california. it's mimicking what happened a year ago when they had a con tamlatitam nation of e. coli a year ago. in economics we talk about things changing, the massive distribution of everything. anything can go into any port and get all over the place. ten years ago you generally have known if it came from this farm or this region. people in southern california or western ohio should not eat the lettuce. >> the big question is why are we getting so many outbreak notifications now? they're able to find them quicker because they can do genetic analysis. instead of being local where you didn't hear about something that happened in california, now you hear about it across the nation. it went from california to maine
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and more than likely is going to spread through other states. >> what happens? what will you feel like if you had this? >> for most people you get stomach aches, feel under the weather. if it starts getting more severe, severe cramps. you get diarrhea that's bloody and fevers, you need to seek medical attention. the e. coli can cause hus. it affects your kidneys. in somebody that had kidney failure out of the 32 people. >> it can't be treated with antibiotics? >> it can, but it's -- once it's at the stage where it's dangerous, they don't want to treat it initially. >> thank you very much, john torez. coming up, an eye opening report on the spread of white nationalism and the flags overlooked along the way. you're watching msnbc.
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a recent report by "the new york times" is titled u.s. law enforcement failed to see the threat of white nationalism. now they don't know how to stop it. now, this might not be the case. in april of 2009 the department of homeland security issued a report warning of the rise of right wing extremism. the report found, quote, lone wolves and small terrorist cells
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embracing violent right wing extremist ideology were the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the united states, end quote. an extremist might attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities. days after being published it was denounced after it showed up on conservative right wing websites. that caused the dhs secretary to apologize to the american legion and the backlash essentially brought the dhs's work to a halt. joining me is -- >> thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> this report got a lot of negative backlash. john boehner didn't like the use of the term right wing and the talk of veterans. it turned out to be fairly on point. >> yeah. the report was very precient.
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it suggested they were all right wing extremists. that was not the intent of the report. the report was designed to set forth a threat to the united states, and unfortunately we've seen the threat come to pass. >> and we keep seeing reports of the numbers of hate crimes and the incidents and we're reporting on them all too frequently. but fundamentally there's two issues. one is the enforcement and prosecution of hate crimes. but by that point, it's too late. what's going on and what's been going on that really has caused this rise? is it economic? is it social? what in your opinion is driving this rise in home grown terrorism and extremist hate crimes? >> you know, i don't think we
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really understand it. you know, and we've gone through periods in our history before where we've had a lot of right wing extremists or domestic terrorists i sancidents we went through a period in the early 90s in the mid 90s we had the oklahoma city bombing. that was the case i worked on when i was the u.s. attorney for arizona. and then it seems to subside. and then it comes back. but it's come back in a huge wave now. and i think it's a combination of factors. i think it's primarily young n men. many of them don't have jobs. they don't have homes. they're not married. they're seeking i think some sort of vengeance on society because their lives haven't worked out. >> and that's not entirely different than the kind of people who get recruited into any form of terrorism.
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it tend to be people who have either suffering from some mental illness, but life has not given them a great deal of fortune, and they're looking for purpose elsewhere. >> right. and then you combine that now with all of the messaging on the internet, and the ability of those who are susceptible to such an ideology to get online, get messages, be in touch with others with similar beliefs, and it just seems to build one upon the other. >> and from your experience at the didn't of homeland security, to that end, to the messaging that people get, the hate speech that has flourished on the internet, do you have any thoughts about what one does about that? is that a regulation issue? is that a monitoring issue? what do you do about the fact that in almost every one of the domestic terrorism hate crime
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incidents, we saw some sort of internet cookie trail? >> well, we don't want to censor the internet, and so we run into the issue of free speech and first amendment rights. but what we need are better predictive analytics. what are things that law enforcement can look for, things are that tangible that would suggest whether someone is moving simply from following hate speech on the internet to carrying out a violent crime? and i will say a part of this, also, is the access to the kind of weapons that people can buy in the united states. >> that seems to be a similarity in all these attacks. final question. earlier this month is ninth circuit court of appeals ruled against the trump administration ending daca. your thoughts on that. >> i thought the ninth circuit decision was right. it was a lawsuit we brought, the university of california on
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behalf of our daca students. these are young people that have grown up in the united states. they've done everything right. they've succeeded academically. they've gained entrance to the university. they just happen to be undocumented. they were brought here as young children, and it seems to me that daca which we did when i was secretary of homeland security, was the right way to handle these individuals. and i thought the administration was wrong as a matter of law and values to try to rescind the program, and so we obtained an injunction in california. this is been up held. it's also the decision of daca has always been joined by other countries across the country. >> janet, great to see you. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. she is now the president of the university of california system. coming up, the messaging -- the
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message the president trump is send as he dismisses the fientdings of his own cia and sides with the saudis as they deny any involvement in jamal khashoggi's murder. plus we're checking the president on his inflation of the importance and value in both revenue and jobs of u.s. armed sales to saudi arabia when we come back. you're watching msnbc. rom him i. when i can keep up! - anncr: thankfully, prevagen helps your brain and improves memory. - dad's got all the answers. - anncr: prevagen is now the number-one-selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide. - she outsmarts me every single time. - checkmate! you wanna play again? - anncr: prevagen. healthier brain. better life. ♪ that's gillette clear gel. it goes on clear and keeps you fresh all day. and it doesn't leave white marks on your shirt.
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their comments are similar to president trump's who said he would stand with saudi arabia despite intense pressure to take tougher action over khashoggi's death. >> it's a complex situation. it's a shame, but it's -- it is what it is. the cia has looked at it. they studied it a lot. they have nothing definitive, and the fact is maybe he did, maybe he didn't. we're not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in orders and let russia, china and everybody else have them. it's all about, for me, simple, it's america first. if we abandon saudi arabia, it would be a terrible mistake. the president appeared to double down sending a tweet thanking the saudis for lowering oil prices. i'll have more on that and why the saudis don't have anything to do with the lowering. but his based his support that hundreds of thousands of deal were in stake. that's a lie. he claimed the saudis will spend $110 billion on weapons and
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military equipment. he said hundreds of billions. according to center for international policy, there have only been about $14.5 billion in deals since trump took office nearly two years ago. the president also claims the deals will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. the center for international policy puts the number at between 20,0$,000 and 40$,000. i've seen one of $17,500 in jobs. the president received plenty of condemnation even from people in the republican party. bob corker tweeted yesterday, i never thought i'd see a day the white house would moonlight as a public relations official for the crowned prince of saudi arabia. joining us to take a closer look vivian, white house reporter for the wall street journal, and endeera. thank you to both of you for being with us. let's start with the relative
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importance of saudi arabia. nobody is suggesting that the united states shutdown all diplomatic and commercial ties with saudi arabia. the president seems to be talking about this like it's an on or off switch. either we're all in with saudi arabia or all out. >> for numerous reasons, ali, it's important because it is a major oil producer if you're going to talk about in a few minutes. obviously for that reason alone, the united states has always tried to maintain strong ties with the kingdom. but there are so many other issues as well. obviously saudi arabia being home -- the spiritual home of over a billion muslims. the united states wanting to maintain those ties in terms of cooperation on a number of issues from just helping to maintain a good relations with the rest of the muslim world to cooperation on counterterrorism issues, and the vast majority of other things as well. business ties you have. and then, of course, there is something that is very important
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to the trump administration which is also a regional counter to iran. this was one of the big turning points last year when the president decided to prioritize and go to riyadh to say it's a starting over, the relationship reset of the relationship between the united states and saudi arabia after the obama administration had signed the iran nuclear deal. president trump said he was going to try to turn a new leaf and have this relationship get back on its feet and so for all those reasons and many more, the united states has always played very carefully with saudi arabia. human rights issues constantly a concern for administrations before this one. but they decide to perhaps talk about those things quietly instead of really going after saudi arabia and risking that strategic and important relationship. >> and that's where this became a problem. because jamal khashoggi captured the attention of the world. this is not the first critic
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that saudi arabia has silenced violently. >> that's right. >> it's not the first journalist saudi arabia has silenced, but it is interesting that bill neely said to me earlier, in the contest tweeb murder and values, values seem to have lost in this one. the signal the white house is sending. the president said when by a reporter about what message does this send about jamal khashoggi, his response is it is what it is. >> yeah. we can't leave it with it is what it is. that's not where it stands. i want to the counterpoint of what vivian said, lay out the reasons why although we've been in this holding pattern for more than 40 years of why saudi arabia's considered such a crucial partner to us, let's think about the ways in which u.s. and saudi interests have been diver
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